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(en) Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland): Interesting perspective on Extinction Rebellion

Date Mon, 7 Oct 2019 08:03:02 +0300

Interesting perspective and what appears to be a lack of willingness to learn from other movements rather than being convinced you already have the answer ---- "This kind of groupiness isn't uncommon, not only on the sectarian left but also in the world of NGOs and brands, which XR straddles rather awkwardly. Common to all of them is not only (rightly) stressing the problems and their urgency, but (wrongly) generating what we would have called a bubble before the term got debased in op-eds: a situation where members talk messianically at the outside world about the crucial importance of Their Way, but rarely meet or discuss with people in other organisations who use other strategies and tactics.
Often there is little or no awareness within such organisations that other people have also been working on these issues for a long time, perhaps even with more success, and that there are other organisations and approaches both in one's home country and in the rest of the world. Part of the reason for this is a good one: that the organisation is bringing in new people, with little or no previous experience of activism, or who have been inactive for long periods. The downside is when the more experienced members allow or encourage the newcomers to believe that their way is the only way worth taking seriously, and not being honest with them about the crucial question: "how can we know what will actually work?"

Raising this sort of question about XR does not mean taking the climate crisis lightly, refusing to engage in radical action, or being hostile to new approaches. The climate strikes, for example, have mobilised far larger numbers of people, on a far more international scale, but do not run these same risks. For a start, they don't involve the claim that this is the only way to resist climate change or to force political action. The strikes are not scrupulously branded, but involve the participation of a wide range of different organisations. And while their participants are in many cases equally new to activism, the school students at least can be expected to learn as they go, and eventually move into other forms of struggle.

The point in writing this is not to attack XR, but to encourage a bit more openness, reflection and learning - not just "training" where the organisation is assumed to have all the answers already. It would be a huge pity if XR were to become the new SWP. Nobody in their right mind wants to see the 2020s full of people saying "I tried activism and it was a waste of time" as the sea rises and the land burns. It would be fantastic if there were thousands, or even tens of thousands, of experienced activists able to say "I started out thinking that if enough of us were arrested the government would have to come on board, but then we learned a bit more through actions and discussion, and developed more effective ways of doing things".
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