XR Godalming Update 6th July 2020 – “We Want To Live”

Many people will have seen already the news that Extinction Rebellion is planning a new period of major action beginning on AUGUST 28th and culminating in EARLY SEPTEMBER. The plan is to start aligned actions in the regions on August 28th and actions in London from September 1st. For the London actions our southeast region will be operating together with XR members from London, east of England and a part of the southwest region. Simultaneous actions are expected in Edinburgh and Cardiff with other regions combining there.

Reps from the southeast region are already making plans with reps from our fellow regions. It is expected that there will plenty of opportunity for local groups to contribute action design ideas and proposals within a broad flexible framework. The hope is that everyone can contribute in a way and at a level that they feel comfortable with – whether that’s engaging in local outreach actions in the build up to the 28th, participating in big regional actions or joining in the actions in London. There will certainly be disruptive actions in London which risk arrest. However, the plan is to make this rebellion different – less about sitting in the road waiting to get arrested, more about doing creative, unexpected attention-grabbing actions which bring our message to the public and the government in a way which can include everyone and which challenges the capacity of the authorities to ignore or repress it.

There will certainly be proposals and suggested plans for action for you to get involved with AND this is the time to propose and suggest your own and/or think about what role YOU might want. Over a year on from the first big rebellion the local XR Godalming group and the regional working groups which we link to are well-organised, with proper structures and functional communications channels and are open to you. Whether you want to be involved in action design, arrestee support, arts and crafts, performance, samba, media, wellbeing, outreach, police liaison, legal observation, rebel riders, back office support, song-carrying, de-escalation – or even just sitting in the road – there is a role for you and we need YOU.

There will inevitably be loads of information and ideas flowing around and inevitably some of it will confusing – this is XR after all! But we have a genuine opportunity in this coming period to make a big impact in a way that, if we all work together, can be consistent with keeping safe and having fun. Let’s do what we can to make the best of it. If you have ideas and don’t know where to put them or you want to volunteer for something and don’t know who to talk to, then you can just email xrgodaming@gmail.com or post on the Telegram group – one of the XR Godalming Coordinators will pick up you message and get back to you. If you haven’t been to one of our meetings for a while then please join us on a zoom call soon. We’ll be looking at the feasibility of in person meetings in due course although at the moment regulations and the need for safety don’t really make large indoor meetings realistic. We hope to have a date to announce very soon about an outdoor gathering / XR Godalming picnic at a central venue – watch this space. Meantime, please come to whichever of the zoom events below look attractive and relevant to you.

Extinction Rebellion is coming fully out of the shadows with the We Want to Live rebellion which starts on 1 September. The XR website has more information. A video has been posted on YouTube:

Very helpful FAQs have been added for experienced and novice rebels alike. As we move back into action, this newsletter is focused on upcoming events so that we start to prepare for the September rebellion, while also planning and taking part in local actions. If you know people who are not currently involved in XR, please pass information about the forthcoming rebellion to them. We need continually to grow our movement.

WHAT’S COMING UP

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS ONLINE TRAINING – 7th July at 6pm.

This is a training event aimed at encouraging safe protest and informing rebels of their rights.

Rebels learn how to engage with the police, acknowledging the disproportionate policing of marginalised groups and the role of white, able bodied privilege.

The aim is to create a safer protest environment by empowering all UK rebels with the knowledge to understand the widespread discrimination within policing, their legal rights and to be aware of how to limit risk to themselves and others.

You need to register in advance for this training.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Wednesday 8 July – Still Heading for Extinction – The Climate Emergency in a post Covid world

This talk is a great way of introducing people outside Extinction Rebellion to why we do what we do. Now that we have a date for the next rebellion, getting the message out beyond our local group is even more important. Please let people know of the talk. We want to spark the interest and commitment of people who are not yet members of XR. If you know of any groups of people who would be interested, then let us know via xrgodalming@gmail.com. Please pass on the information to people you know via our facebook page.

Please register in advance here to attend the event.

Thursday 9 July, at 7pm, there is a 2020 Rebellion Recruitment Workshop via Zoom.

This is event is suitable for new and experienced rebels.

The wait is over…now it’s time to put all those plans into action! Let’s take that passion, drive, love and rage and get it out there in beautiful rebellion.  

Come and find out how YOU can get involved! WHATEVER your skills and however much time you want to volunteer, there’s something to do!

Programme:

Rebellion Overview – where we are now and what we need to do to be ready for Rebellion

Introductions and workshops as follows:

  • Talks & Trainings will launch the amazing Rebellion 2020 talk and how to book them
  • Actions – organising and behind the scenes
  • Arrestee support – includes jobs for rebels unable to attend actions
  • Outreach and mobilisation – how to energise Local Groupss, and recruit new rebels
  • Media & messaging – it’s how we Tell the Truth, writers and post-ers come!

You’ll also hear about other ways you can get involved before during and after the rebellion, including opportunities to help in the south east region.

Open to all rebels. Free tickets Via Eventbrite. Zoom link sent via email after booking.

Thursday 9 July – police liaison training. Information and registration can be found here. Please email xrgodalming@gmail.com if you decide to this, so we know who we have trained for this role.

Wednesday 15 July – we are going to screen the film 2040 via Zoom. The film envisages what the planet might be like in 2040 if currently available solutions to improve it are implemented.

Saturday 18 July – follow-up to de-escalation training.

Monday 20 July at 7pm – Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) Training(Louisa and Chris). Zoom details tbc. Please email xrgodalming@gmail.com or message via the Telegram chat to book a place. Suitable for new members and existing members who haven’t done this training before AND people who have been around longer and would like a revision. An important preparation for non-violent direct action and an opportunity to discuss some of the issues involved.

Wednesday 22 July – regular meeting. Now that we have information about the September rebellion, this will undoubtedly be the focus.

Other topics to discuss in coming weeks include UKOG at Dunsfold, responses to Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council, improving cycling locally and the hemp project. If you would like to add any topics, please email xrgodalming@gmail.com.

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite you might like to think about getting involved with some CYCLING ACTION coming up. Our Critical Mass group will be making a proposal for an inclusive and awareness-raising local action soon. Meantime people in the burgeoning XR SouthEast Rebel Riders group are planning an Alternative Prudential Bike Ride (possibly centred around the Dorking/Surrey Hills area) on AUGUST 16th and there is a move afoot to organise a mass cycle journey to London for the rebellion. More info on all this exciting stuff from Ben or join our Critical Mass chatgroup.

Although attention is shifting to the national rebellion, the campaign against oil drilling locally continues. The decision at Surrey County Council planning committee to reject the application for drilling at Dunsfold last week was very cheering and a major victory – showing the value of all the pressure which XR groups have exerted on the Council. The XR SCC working group is writing to all the Councillors this week to follow up on that, exhorting them to pressure the government to change the regulatory framework so that individual Councillors (an important six of whom, led by our local Councillor Penny River and supported by the Cranleigh Councillor Andrew Povey, we thank sincerely in this case for their diligence and courage) need to devote less time and effort to opposing these needless and destructive applications. This is timely as it is also a year this week that Surrey CC, as a direct result of an XR Surrey campaign, declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Most people will know that UKOG, the company behind the Dunsfold scheme, already have wells operational at Horse Hill. A combined group of campaigners have been increasingly making their presence felt in recent months to protest against drilling their and this Monday morning saw another in that series. (Photo above by Natasha Leoni)

CLIMATE JUSTICE AND THE 4th DEMAND

Climate justice is on a lot of our minds currently, foregrounded not only by the murder of George Floyd and the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on BAME communities, but situations such as the spread of the disease through vulnerable indigenous communities as the exploitation of their Amazonian homelands has intensified during the pandemic. We know that climate change will affect the most marginalised of the world’s inhabitants while being perpetrated by the richest. But is this injustice reflected adequately within XR’s Three Demands? Many think not. Lately we have been discussing this at both the local and regional level. The ‘Rebel Hive’ (XRUK) is now carrying out a seven-week consultation that will involve first representatives of relevant Working Groups then all Local Groups through People’s Assemblies. More information about this can be found here. If you would like to contribute to how we respond in Godalming, please contact Louisa by replying to this email or on Telegram (@earthtohumanity).Thanks to those who have already fed back their views.

In the meantime, in the FAQs for the September rebellion, XR has made the following commitment to the question, how are you going to make this rebellion more inclusive for marginalised groups?

As we prepare to mobilise people to take to the streets again, we want to make very clear that the only way to have a rebellion that challenges the systems on which the climate emergency thrives, is for that rebellion to prioritise anti-racism and solidarity with marginalised groups and all people striving for equality and justice. Some of the ways we are doing that are:

  • Review all training workshops regularly for inclusivity, and speak explicitly of the great risks marginalised activists face when taking part in actions.
  • Work to prioritise collaboration in the creation and performance of antiracism and solidarity actions and developing more actions that are accessible to everyone.
  • To share the story of our XRUK Internationalist Solidarity Network led by Kofi Klu and Esther Stanford-Xosei work which has been quietly building since Autumn 2018 and is led by Global South colleagues.
  • We will continue to encourage all XR activists to take part in at least one of the range of anti-oppression and decolonisation workshops currently run within the movement, as well as engaging with external resources.
  • In January 2020 we released our updated Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) training of which one of the main sections is ‘Police, Oppression, and the Justice System’. Within that we reference the Decolonise and anti-oppression workshops.
  • Over the past year we have continued to adapt our ‘Know Your Rights’ training, which covers how to engage with the police, acknowledging the disproportionate policing of marginalised groups and the role of white, able bodied privilege. This aims to create a safer protest environment by empowering all activists with the knowledge to understand the widespread discrimination within policing and to be aware of how to limit risk to themselves and others.

REBEL RINGING

We have mentioned rebel ringing in previous newsletters and at meetings. As we mobilise for September we need to re-connect with each other, and bring further people into our movement. Duncan is coordinating the rebel ringing. If you are interested in helping him, please make contact via Telegram, or email xrgodalming@gmail.com.

Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday or soon.

With hope and determination.

XR Godalming