Disruption takes many forms. You can blockade streets and highways, hack the central banks, or even take over the systems of government. However sometimes disruption needs to happen internally, particularly to the ways we have been ingrained into thinking. There has been much love shown to what XR have been doing for the past 3 days from participants and speakers at the Global Justice Rebellion as well as the wider public; it is clear that the issue of climate change is very present in the public consciousness thanks to XR’s actions.
What has perhaps been missing from the main conversation is the critiques of XR’s framing of the climate crisis, too often presented as a crisis for white westerners and their grandchildren, platforming demands with too narrow a focus on carbon emissions, ignoring the uncomfortable political and historical ‘truths’ we need to tell to bring about systemic change. We hope to highlight the wider social and global implications of this crisis. These conversations are simply not addressed enough by the prevalent narrative pushed by XR. Paying lip service is not enough, but rather what is needed is a genuine listening to the voices of people fighting on the frontlines of climate change in the global south, where the climate has been an emergency for many decades or even centuries.
We are trying to demonstrate that XR, while doing amazing work, have only just joined a struggle which has been and continues to be fought by people whose perspectives are not shared enough. Sometimes the hardest form of disruption, the hardest form of ‘empathy’ is to engage critically with ourselves and the principles we take for granted. This is something that we believe that XR must do, as an organisation, if it wants to truly make the systemic impact that it hopes to.
The Global Justice Rebellion is not blockading a road, and so naturally our space won’t draw the same kind of energy as other sites. However this different approach offers opportunities for deeper reflection and discussion; a welcoming and inclusive space for all communities – a much needed breathing space for us all. If this ‘Movement of Movements’ is to live up to its name, we need both kinds of intentions to succeed.
The Global Justice Site