This stream-of-consciousness poem essentially encapsulates my sheer frustration at Extinction Rebellion’s actions in London during the October Rebellion. The five days I spent peacefully protesting in the city left me in a state of mild-to-abject horror, whilst also unfortunately confirming my uneasiness about the movement as a whole. This is despite the fact that I was a formerly vocal supporter and am an active member of XR (for now, at least).
This poem is written for certain members of XR: the apolitical, the “police! we love you”-chanters, the ones who are disinterested in engaging with XR YOUTH seemingly because their intersectionality is a divergence from the established order.
It is a throwing-down of the gauntlet, if you will.
I have left it in a very raw form, as it was written in a time of very raw feeling. More context is certainly needed to explore and overcome the lack of intersectionality within XR’s environmentalism, and I will write a more coherent and well grounded piece when I can speak more clearly and with less anger. For now, I have only my own declaration:
Climate change in and of itself is a completely apolitical issue. It affects everyone on the planet, regardless of who we are or where we live.
However, the severity of the effects of climate change and the speed at which they affect different people are intrinsically political issues, and cannot be ignored.
That is where I draw the line.
“Do you feel like we’ve achieved something this week?” A heavy silence, laden with the ticking of internal cogs, descends.
Many sad environmentalists in many sad corners ruminate
over the ineffectiveness of their actions and the flaws in their movement and the fact that
we don’t have time for this,
heads bowed and eyes glazed
or nattering incessantly
within their own echo chambers of these other, similar-sort-of-“fine-upstanding people”-
ignoring the glaring issues, self distracting and deluding,
dancing and gluing and hooping and locking-on
inside the runaway train
hurtling towards the poor, the disadvantaged, the underprivileged
The damage is already being done.
This is not just a fight for our global future, our future children;
it is a fight for the people of the here and now,
who are suffering,
away from the idyll of your home.
These people should take precedence over those who do not yet exist.
They are living, and breathing, and will not be ignored.
I ask you,
Do you see them? Do you care?
Are you willing to listen?