I wanted this to work so much

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


Too late.

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?

by Meg Watts

One thought on “I wanted this to work so much

  1. Powerful. Thank you!
    Lock-ons… “INSIDE the runaway train
    hurtling towards the poor, the disadvantaged, the underprivileged“
    – “These people should take precedence over those who do not yet exist.“

    I’m still getting hyper vigilant every time I hear the deafening noise of police helicopters.
    I also desperately hoped we only needed that last rebellion.
    It’s possible we need to encourage everyone to get off the train… to be able to stop the train.
    As long as they are on it they struggle to see the rusted wheels, the broken rail tracks ahead… and the massive cliff not far off.

    Thank you Meg. Keep -feeling-


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