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Extinction Rebellion: A New Paradigm for Climate-Change Activism


At The Baffler website, Robert Raymond profiles the new activist group Extinction Rebellion, which aims to bring more urgent rhetoric and more disruptive tactics to the movement against climate change. Founded in the UK but now spreading around the globe, Extinction Rebellion frames the climate change struggle as a life-or-death fight, one that the current system is proving unable or unwilling to address. They use civil disobedience, economic disruption, and mass action to pressure elected officials and corporations to take decisive action now in order to stave off extinction. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Extinction Rebellion has its sights set on radical systemic change, and they’ve adopted a strategy that focuses on disrupting the system itself from the bottom up. “We believe that the government has violated the social contract by willfully leading us towards destruction and extinction, and therefore we feel obligated to withdraw our consent to be governed, which also entails refusing to participate in the system,” Gray explained. “We believe that’s the only strategy that’s capable of addressing the climate crisis at the scale and at the speed necessary to avert runaway warming.”

In their long-term vision, Extinction Rebellion believes that with a large enough series of actions, they can bring the government to a grinding halt. If that takes place, then there’s no longer any way for elected officials to ignore their demands. “There’s no other place that power can be marshaled from that can successfully overcome the power of profit and money and capital,” Gray said.

Image: A protest march organized by Extinction Rebellion. Via The Ecologist.