Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Canucks joining Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion chapters proliferating across Canada

Facebook photo by Extinction Rebellion.

As "Rebellion Day 2" took place in London, U.K. on November 24, Extinction Rebellion Facebook groups are proliferating rapidly across Canada.

There are now Extinction Rebellion Facebook groups for CanadaOntarioQuebecBritish ColumbiaVancouverVancouver IslandAlberta, and Nova Scotia, as well as groups in PeterboroughBarrieKitchener/WaterlooHamiltonTorontoLondonOttawaGuelphSouth OkanaganWilliams Lake, and Victoria. This is undoubtedly only a partial list of a rapidly growing number of chapters.

The heightened Canadian interest and participation in Extinction Rebellion comes a week after 6,000 Extinction Rebellion activists occupied five bridges in central London on November 17. On the same day, about 1,000 conscientious protectors were back again to hold a funeral ceremony in Parliament Square while 50 members of an affinity group blocked the four roads entering the square.

Extinction Rebellion has posted on Facebook, “Police forced their way in to prevent a coffin, symbolically labelled ‘OUR FUTURE’, from being buried in the grass of the square.”
The funeral procession then moved to Whitehall -- a road in central London where numerous ministries have their offices, including the Cabinet Office -- and then on to Downing Street, the official residence and office of the Prime Minister.
The Guardian reports, “Campaigners carried a mock coffin in a funeral-style procession and took part in a mass sit-down protest for around 10 minutes outside the gates of Downing Street... Several protesters also lay down in front of the gates.”

Extinction Rebellion adds, “The procession continued on to Buckingham Palace, where rebels read out a letter to the Queen, asking her to take action to protect the realm from these existential threats where the government has ignored our demands.”
The Guardian also notes, “One older woman superglued her hands to a railing outside Buckingham Palace in protest.”
There has been no reported response to date from Queen Elizabeth, who constitutionally is also the Queen of Canada.

The Extinction Rebellion Facebook page has previously noted, "A rebellion on an international scale will follow in March." Now, tantalizingly, it notes, “April 15. Save the date. We'll see you on the streets in spring, rebels.”

Activists in Canada appear to be preparing for this and other actions. About 2,176 people have now signed up across the country, with Extinction Rebellion Ontario leading the way with 235 Facebook followers, Extinction Rebellion Vancouver with 604 followers, London with 60 followers, and Victoria with 28 followers.

Please note that Extinction Rebellion Vancouver will be holding a public forum titled "Climate Change: Heading for extinction - what can we do about it?" on December 11.
To sign up for Extinction Rebellion, please click here. The sign up for organizers and organizations willing to anchor the rebellion in their locality is here.
For more, please also see my rabble column "Extinction Rebellion for climate justice is organizing in Canada, too" (November 21) and blog "Extinction Rebellion says it's time to move beyond mass marches and petitions".

Brent Patterson is a political activist and writer.
Image: Extinction Rebellion Canada/Facebook

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Mass Climate Change Protests Finally Beginning

My friend Sylvia and I have discussed for some time the need for grassroots social protests to force governments around the world to deal with the future of our planet. Our own Prime Minister talks a lot of platitudes about social change (yeah, it was 2015 three years ago, Justin). It's obvious that governments worldwide are both unwilling and unable to take action unless pushed to do so. I graduated high school in the Amerikan south during the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King's large marches and widespread civil disobedience forced that issue front and centre into the public's awareness and brought about some degree of social change. Now the fate of the planet is at stake, and again 'our so-called leaders' continue to lag behind.

The following good news is from the media site "Rabble":  

Extinction Rebellion for climate justice is organizing in Canada, too

Photo: Extinction Rebellion/Twitter

This past Saturday, November 17, an estimated 6,000 Extinction Rebellion activists occupied five bridges -- Lambeth, Westminster, Blackfriars, Southwark, and Waterloo -- in central London, U.K. to demand action against climate breakdown.

At least 85 people were arrested, most charged with obstruction under the Highways Act which carries with it a possible fine of up to £1,000 (about C$1,688).
Not surprisingly, London's Metropolitan Police were not impressed and told the Daily Express, "Given that the organizers failed to engage with police prior to the event, we were unable to work with them around their plan and to make considerations for other Londoners."
Events are being planned in cities around the globe, including in Canada.

This past weekend, Extinction Rebellion gatherings were organized by Extinction Rebellion Vancouver (which has a follow-up public forum already organized for November 29) and Extinction Rebellion Toronto.

The Extinction Rebellion movement was launched in London on October 31 and they have stated on their Facebook page that, "A rebellion on an international scale will follow in March."
Will we see similar occupations of the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver, the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa (just down the street from the U.S. Embassy and Parliament Hill), the Mercier Bridge in Montreal (as it was during the Oka Crisis), and countless other bridges in communities across this country?

Only time, organizing capacity and commitment will tell.

After the bridges in London were held for four to six hours, the "conscientious protectors" gathered in Parliament Square to hear speeches and to begin preparing for further actions around central London, planned to resume on Wednesday, November 21.

Extinction Rebellion organizer Tiana Jacout told The Independent, "We have tried marching, and lobbying, and signing petitions. Nothing has brought about the change that is needed. And no damage that we incur can compare to the criminal inaction of the U.K. government in the face of climate and ecological breakdown."
Organizer Gail Bradbrook told The Guardian, "Only this kind of large-scale economic disruption can rapidly bring the government to the table to discuss our demands."
Those demands are:
1. The government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
2. The government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
3. A national Citizens' Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
The Guardian notes, "In the past two weeks more than 60 people have been arrested for taking part in acts of civil disobedience organized by Extinction Rebellion ranging from gluing themselves to government buildings to blocking major roads in the capital."

There has also been the spray-painting of messages on the Prime Minister's Office at 10 Downing Street and at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (not dissimilar to the Department of Natural Resources in Canada), a banner hanging on Westminster Bridge, and a "Queer Party to Save the Amazon" that shut down the Brazilian embassy to protest the climate destructive policies of Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

Extinction Rebellion has raised about C$84,000 in the past few weeks and now has organizing spaces in central London to help coordinate further "respectful disruptions."
The Guardian adds, "The group is also making international contacts, with 11 events planned in seven countries so far, including the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia and France."

In Canada, with the Trudeau government having spent $4.5 billion (with billions more in spending planned) on the proposed 890,000-barrel-per-day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, and with a recent study saying that if other countries followed the Trudeau government's policies it would push global warming to more than 5.1 degrees Celsius by 2100, bold action is needed in this country.
The international sign-up for Extinction Rebellion is here. The sign-up for organizers and organizations willing to anchor the rebellion in their locality is here.

Brent Patterson is an activist-blogger who writes this monthly column on inspiring stories of global resistance to neoliberalism and climate change.
Photo: Extinction Rebellion/Twitter
Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support today for as little as $1 per month!
Related Items