XR, - , (Cambridge, UK) 

XR :pika_surprise: 

XR - 


Damn, Earth First is right on:

"While many organisations and spaces rightfully try to make themselves more welcoming to marginalised people through a ‘safer spaces’ policy that opposes oppressive or bigoted behaviour, we believe they create a false sense of security. People tacitly agree to these ‘policies’ whilst not actually undertaking the work in making meaningful changes to their own behaviour. This may be because of denial, guilt or ignorance."

This describes so many people in XR so well!


XR, leaking 

My local XR group have bought a bunch of bad, climate related meme stickers to stick around the city in protest...

We are willing to commit time and effort to meet with all relevant internal parties to take action together. We are grateful that we also have so many allies within and outside XR supporting us. We are also grateful for the contributions of all PoC who are trying to change the XR narrative through a variety of initiatives and actions.

We cannot change what brought us here, but we can change where we go from here.

Let’s do this together.

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• Many actions continue without accountability. This actively harms marginalised voices in XR. For example, our voices were not heard on the Canning Town/Shadwell actions (we asked to distance ourselves from it beforehand; afterwards other PoC asked that we openly condemn the actions due to the violence involved at CT). Another example is cofounders’ promotion of arrest, which has been dismissed as something that cannot be countered. We ask why these actions/voices continue to represent us, when they simply cannot and should not represent or speak for us. We ask for accountability and, where we are unable to take these issues forward ourselves, for allies to help to address these specific concerns.

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• That effective systems are put in place for checks and balances against implicit power, and that PoC are included in their formulation, to help mitigate the risks of ‘blind spots’ which so clearly arose through the Canning Town/Shadwell actions.

• For groups to recognise the absence of people of colour and those from other marginalised groups and show some dedication to finding out why that is. We do not want tokenistic representation, but honest exploration of the implicit power relationships that lead to situations of non-inclusion.

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We recognise that some work is being carried out to build this into XR, e.g. through anti oppression workshops. However, ongoing evaluation and feedback must become core toway we strategise and act. It should become part of our work in local, affinity and all other groups. It should be part of DNA and of SOS. Unless this becomes embedded in the waydo things we will fail to build a truly inclusive mass movement.

We are a group of people of colour who are clear in our commitment to XR and we believe we have a fundamental role to play in addressing some of the useful and insightful criticisms that have recently arisen. Our commitment to XR means we will also fiercely defend it from criticism that is not useful or that seeks to use our internal struggles as a way to divide XRa movement. We raise only a few key points here. Moving forward, we suggest the following actions.

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By messaging arrest as the ‘right’ way to rebel, it undermines the other key elements of XR rebel culture that can help to build a mass movement. Both MLK and Gandhi spent significant time looking internally at their own beliefs, biases and values. Nonviolence was not just a strategy, but a way of life centred around inner work. Whilst we recognise that XR’s Theory of Change is centred on non-violence as a strategic aim rather than way of(based on e.g the writings of Paul and Mark Engler and Gene Sharp), this itself is centreda Western way of thinking that breaks down the whole into parts for extraction and appropriation purposes.

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Regenerative Culture

Though arrest is core to XR’s Theory of Change, there are parallel strategies that need to co-exist and mutually reinforce one another. Looking to the successful movements of both Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King (MLK), these were built from the grassroot level by the people already suffering. Fundamentally, they were in touch and in tune with the suffering of people and built varied strategies and actions that enabled mass participation.

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• Data disclosed by the Metropolitan Police in August 2017 found that people of African descent and of ethnic minority background, in particular young African and Caribbean men, are subject to deadly use of force by restraint, and are twice as likely to die after the use of force by police officers. The Government’s own publications indicate that black people are over three times as likely to be arrested as white people.

• Black people are also 91⁄2 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, according to 2017/18 figures.

• Self-harm in prison in England and Wales has reached record highs in the 12 months running up to March 2019, up 24% from the previous 12 months. In the most recent quarter, self-harm incidents increased by 1% to 14,415 incidents.

• The Lammy Review also points to a disparity in custodial treatment, to the detriment of people of colour.

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To move forward, we need to learn and recognise that existing structural inequalities within our society impact upon peoples’ capacity to engage actively in one of the key strategies of rebellion, namely arrestability. To simplify and promote an individual positive experience of prison endorses and perpetuates a flawed and structurally unequal system. It undermines the experiences of the many people who have suffered and died in jail, who are harmed by the system and treated differently. Above all it ignores the point that an experience of positive treatment is a hallmark of privilege.

For anyone with high levels of implicit power to call the prison experience positive is problematic and dangerous. Prison ruins people's lives, as some of the statistics below highlight.

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We were therefore very disappointed to see Roger’s Facebook post last week. After the actions of Canning Town and Shadwell, we had hoped that those who have power within XR - perceived leaders, co-founders and coordinators - would become more attuned to the issues that PoC, including PoC in XR face in relation to race and inequality. We had hoped that they would become more mindful of, and responsible towards, the authority they wield in this regard in influencing, leading, and representing the actions of many people in XR.

We encourage coordinators, leaders and founders of XR to become aware of the damage that poorly constructed messages around arrest creates. We recognise the work that some XR groups are already carrying out in support of this, such as International Solidarity Network, Connecting Communities, XR Together and XR Liberation.

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We have previously raised these issues in various ways as individuals, but many of these concerns have been ignored and, by some, actively challenged and rejected. Recent incidents such as the Canning Town/Shadwell action and Roger’s Facebook post on prison have demonstrated this.

We cannot speak for all people of colour within XR, nor do we aim to. These are simply the perspectives of a group of us who have come together who wish to be heard as equals within our shared struggle for climate justice.

Power & Privilege

XR Value and Principle 7 recognises that we come from a society that is built on structural inequality and oppression and that, as UK citizens, we are taught a history that does not reflect this appropriately. We know that to collectively survive the climate and ecological emergency we need to strengthen our social bonds to become a society that is built on social justice from the ground up.

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Shoutout to the police officer who released a blind man from an unfamiliar station without his cane.

Shoutout to the police officer who arrested two disabled activists for "illegally assembling" to adjust an oxygen tank.

Shoutout to the police officer who kept only the arthritic chap with cerebral palsy handcuffed out of the ten arrested, and then confiscated their walking cane.

You bigoted, biased fucks aren't making any friends here.


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