“How to”

Actions, Art, Logistics

towards the decentralisation of XR

A manual for empowering people to self organise non-violent civil disobedience

Under construction, restructuring underway.

This Document is overseen by Art, Actions and Logistics Working Group. It has been fed into by regenerative culture, media and messaging, legal, outreach, and other working groups.

It is a working document, part of a learning process, and sharing what we know.


Contents:

Introduction and Principles

Underlying Principles of XR Actions

How to organise an Action

Visioning an Action

Disruption, Outreach, Visioning

Choosing the Location or Locations

Narrative

Look and Feel

Numbers

Levels of Involvement

Preparing for an Action

Training

Affinity Groups

Action Consensus

Location/s

Legal, Arrest, and Support

Logistics

Sound Equipment

Action Regenerative Culture

Media and Messaging

Overview and Links

Legal Strategy

On an Action

Legal and Arrestee Support Structures

Roles and Checklists

Introduction and Principles

This is a manual for empowering people to self organise non-violent civil disobedience as part of the Extinction Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion will be referred to as XR throughout this document. XR declared rebellion against the UK Government on 31st October 2018, and has since formed over 200 local groups in over 20 countries. We are now working on a build-up of actions locally, nationally, towards an international rebellion beginning April 15th 2019.

XR Organisation overview

XR has aims, demands, and key messaging. You can read more about these at the start of our overview.

XR Overview here

Core Principles and Values

1. WE HAVE A SHARED VISION OF CHANGE  

Creating a world that is fit for the next 7 generations to live in.

2. WE SET OUR MISSION ON WHAT IS NECESSARY

Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – such as “Momentum-driven organising” to achieve this.

3. WE NEED A REGENERATIVE CULTURE

Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

4. WE OPENLY CHALLENGE OURSELVES AND THIS TOXIC SYSTEM

Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

5. WE VALUE REFLECTING AND LEARNING

Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

6. WE WELCOME EVERYONE AND EVERY PART OF EVERYONE

Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

7. WE ACTIVELY MITIGATE FOR POWER

Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation

8. WE AVOID BLAMING AND SHAMING

We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

9. WE ARE A NON-VIOLENT NETWORK

Using nonviolent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.

10. WE ARE BASED ON AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALISATION

We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power.

XR Demands for the UK

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. The Government has failed to protect us. To survive, it’s going to take everything we’ve got.

1.The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens and communities.

2.The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.

3. A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

Links

XR Resources on website here

XR Resources Links and Contacts here

Rising Up Induction doc and links to most resources here

Rising Up NVDA Resources here

XR Song Sheet here

Key Messages and Demands (for media) here


Underlying Principles of XR Actions

We are a Mass Movement of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience

Extinction Rebellion’s actions can be broken down into three types of action. Most of our protests will achieve all 3 at some level, but are often organised to focus on one over another.

Disruption, to create disruption through mass civil disobedience, towards achieving our demands.

Outreach, to tell the public the truth, and bring people together, at the protest, or through media.

Visioning, demonstrating the future we want to see through beautiful creative actions.

“Through our actions we will try to outreach to new groups, create mass economic disruption, and vision the future we want to see in the world. Some actions will be aimed at one or two of these outcomes, and some at all three. Different kinds of civil disobedience will be designed to appeal to a wide range of people, especially families and youth. All these actions will be optimised to take into account regenerative cycles of rest and action.” Extinction Rebellion Strategy, February 2019

Non-Violence

Nonviolence is a method of  bringing about progressive social change through causing disruption such as blocking roads  and engaging in sacrifice such as getting arrested and going to prison. This action never involves any physical violence and importantly also involves showing respect to an opponent so as to make it easier to maintain a human connection and thus make a resolution of the political conflict more likely. Nonviolence then is a tactic and it has been shown to be more effective than either conventional campaigning (petitions, lobbying) or violence in bringing about sustained radical change in society.

See  XR & Nonviolence for more information and key texts are available on XR reading list

Direct Action

As Frederick Douglass said, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” Malcolm X elaborated, “Power never takes a step back, except in the face of more power.” Rather than deferring to others to make changes for us through votes or lobbying, we seek to change the dynamics of power directly.

 “While associated with confrontation, direct action at its core is about power. Smart direct action assesses power dynamics and finds a way to shift them.” (Beautiful Trouble)

This is the aim of XR actions. We create “dilemma actions” which mean we move towards our objectives whether the state allow illegal activity to continue or if they opt for arrests. We therefore use existing power dynamics against themselves. If the authorities allow us to continue we gain positive publicity. If they opt for arresting people then they risk a “backfiring effect” whereby people who watch the arrests are compelled by the courage and sacrifice of those engaging in nonviolent action to go and join them.

Civil Disobedience and Direct Action are not strictly the same thing. Broadly, Civil Disobedience is always non-violent and illegal, Direct Action does not have to be.

Disruption

Disruption works. Especially if it is clear there is a threat of continued disruption which could lead to economic or social unrest. The authorities may have to choose whether to meet and discuss your demands or allow you to continue with disruption. Extinction Rebellion have learnt ways to create disruption which carry a very low criminal charge but create a high amount of disruption.

Rebellion

This is not a protest march, or a small number of people taking direct action against one target, this is a rebellion. That means it’s ongoing, its demands are aimed at governments, and its disruption and actions are widespread. It targets a change in the system; it does not attack individuals.

Building a Mass Movement

Extinction Rebellion is an actions-based movement. This strategy follows the theory that actions build movements. While we recognise the importance of organising and developing broad-based support through decentralised campaigning rooted in communities, our goal is acts of mass participation civil disobedience. This will best be achieved through the practice of organising and implementing civil disobedience in the build-up to April 15th 2019 and other significant dates.

The way to mobilise people is to take direct action and the public drama this creates brings more people into the movement. Both action and mobilisation have to happen together. Once actions reach a tipping point they may gain the credibility which bring ever more people in to join them. This often happens when authorities try to repress them through arrest and jail. Such sacrifices can then help a movement to grow.

Extinction Rebellion is a system, finding ways to change a system.


Organising an XR Action

How to organise an Action

Our actions are acts of Nonviolent Civil Disobedience as part of a mass movement calling on governments to tell the truth on the climate emergency and ecological breakdown, and act based on those truths. They and are aligned with our aims, demands and key messaging.

You can read these underlying principles, aims, and demands above and in the links.

Extinction Rebellion’s actions can be broken down into three types of action. Most of our protests will achieve all 3 at some level, but are often organised to focus on one over another.

Disruption, to create disruption through mass civil disobedience, towards achieving our demands.

Outreach, to tell the public the truth, and bring people together, at the protest, or through media.

Visioning, demonstrating the future we want to see through beautiful creative actions.

Give yourself one month to organise most actions, unless responding to particular political situations. This is particularly important in thinking about regenerative culture. We are trying to create a sustainable model of activism, as this is an ongoing rebellion. Despite there being many opportunities to respond to situations it is sometimes wise to use our own timescales than be constantly pulled in different directions, and over-work trying to respond to every new crisis.


Visioning an Action

Disruption, Outreach, Visioning

Based on the underlying principles above, and the three types of action think through the focus of your action. What type of action will be the focus, Disruption, Outreach, Visioning. What tactics will best enable one or all of those things. What location, and art, will get across the message or story you want to tell. The reasons for all of these choices will feed into the narrative of your action.

Choosing the Location or Locations

This decision might be based on achieving one of the three action types, what will gain publicity, and also what you can achieve with the numbers of people you will have.

Extinction Rebellion has mostly chosen to target the government, and create disruption in the capital cities, or the cities where the local or national government sits. This is because we are focused on system change, and we are clear this is everyone's concern. We don’t usually use actions to target individuals or companies, unless creating a narrative around that.

The system isn’t working for anyone, so let’s come together and change it.

You might also choose a location that is symbolic, to help tell a narrative. Or a location which will help you outreach to a larger group or community, see for example occupying a potential ally organisation below, or organising a free festival which creates disruption but outreaches to the local community, perhaps inviting them to a talk happening in that location shortly after the action.

It is a good idea to visit the location prior to an action to have a clear idea of what will happen where, which parts of the terrain are public, or private, or a highway. And how to create disruption in a safe way. And what the differences in criminal charge could be depending on where it happens.

Narrative

Create a narrative, however simple, about why you are taking the action you are.

Simple Example: Gov. Dept. for Energy not doing enough on climate, we will shut it down.

Deeper Example: Gov. Dept for Energy has met with fracking firms, but not visited a fracking site or met with protectors. We will bring the anti-fracking protectors, and a version of their protest to the Dept. for Energy, and in the style of their actions, shut down the dept. using superglue and lock-ons.

Look and Feel

In line with the type of disruption and the narrative of the action, think about how to create the look and feel of that protest. See Creating Beautiful Rebellion section for style guides, links to designs, and advice on producing banners, flags, and other art objects.

Continued Example: Using the visual style of the anti-fracking site in North-East England, we created banners that would visually identify this as an anti-fracking protest. Using tactics from anti-fracking movement, such as Lock-Ons (See later), also continued this narrative.

Things to consider:

  • Banners and Placards

What message do you want to convey. What images, symbols, or slogans will help you.

  • Props for actions

Will you create beautiful objects, sculpture, or props to convey your message, or to disguise equipment for arrestable actions

Will you use stencils, or paint free hand (where you might not get time to finish your message)

  • Dress Code

Costume or Outfits can be used to convey your message, whether it’s hi-vis or smart suits.

  • Songs or Chants

A successful chant has rhythm, rhyme, and can be easily heard, understood, and repeated. They can help to convey your message, unify people especially if police or security are trying to seperate a crowd, and to keep protest energy levels up. It’s not just about shouting your message the loudest.

A good protest song, can uplift the energy when people are cold or tired, or calm the energy when people are getting aggressive or have just done a high energy action.

Here are some examples of ones we have used in the UK so far: here

What to wear - Other things to consider

Style

In general we have encourage people to attend Extinction Rebellion actions dressed smartly, conveying the message that this is one of the most important jobs right now in our society, and it is our calling, or one of our callings.

Costume and Outfits can also be used to convey your message, some activists get people to dress in boiler suits, we have used hi-vis, and patches with the symbol on, sometimes even asked people to dress for a funeral. Think about this in relation to the narrative you are building for your action.

Practicality

Sashes, coloured bibs, or hi-vis jackets can be helpful to identify teams within an action.

For Example: In the UK Legal Observers wear Orange HI-Vis Jackets usually, and don’t carry or hold anything with branding associated with the protest to remain impartial.

During XR’s week of rebellions our wellbeing teams wore blue sashes, First-Aiders wore green vests, Non-Violent Communications wore white sashes. And stewards wore hi-vis jackets.

Depending on the time of year, the clothes you wear can be extremely important. You need to take in to consideration how long your action will last, and brief people for a number of hours outside in the cold or rain if it’s in the winter months. If you will be sitting or lying down for long periods you can use cardboard or foam to increase your comfort.

Numbers

Thinking about how many people are needed to make certain actions work is key. And it’s important to remember all the roles involved, not just the most risky, or arrestable ones. See Roles below.

Work with the outreach team and media and messaging team to work out how many people you can have attend who are trained, and how many members of the public you can attract to your action. Be realistic in thinking about the numbers, not everyone attending on facebook will turn up, but also be ambitious.

Levels of Involvement

Try and design actions so that whoever turns up there are ways they can be included and involved.

Think about levels of civil disobedience and levels of criminality involved in the action.

Example: Those who had decided to Lock-On or Superglue outside the Gov. Dept for Energy had done Non-Violent Direct Action Training, and were part of an affinity group. In small groups they arrived at the target location discreetly and got into position before they could be stopped by security.

Others who had also had training arrived just after to support them. They might have decided to risk going onto private property to support those taking the most risky action, but as they weren’t stuck, could walk away if needed. Their risk of arrest was lower.

There were also roles such as Wellbeing, Non-Violent Communicators, Stewards and Legal Observers, which were essential to the protest, and carry a lower risk of arrest. Actually part of these roles include avoiding arrest.

Members of the public who turned up arrived last, they held the big banners and stood on public property, the pavement, where they were not committing a criminal offence and the risk of arrest was extremely low.

Finally as it became clear in this case police and security did not want to move to make arrests, some people escalated the protest, and instead of passively obstructing the entrance to the building, used spray-chalk to write our message on the building. This escalation forced the police into a dilemma and they decided to begin making arrests which gained the campaign publicity.


Preparing for an Action

Training

After people  have heard the Extinction Talk (link), and want to get involved in XR, they can sign up to hear about Non-Violent Direct Action Trainings (NVDA). Through these NVDA trainings people formed affinity groups.

See documents about how to run our NVDA Trainings here NVDA 3 hour Training

It is also important to have trainings around how to deal with the police and arrest; and prison if that is a consideration. As well as others such as Action Well-Being, Arrestee Support, Legal Observing, How to hold Brief/Debriefs, and more.

Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups are groups of 5-15 people who form bonds of trust, to support their members to take non-violent direct action together. The groups are non-hierarchical and autonomous.  They can make quick, consensus decisions on actions and plan actions of their own. We suggest these groups...

  1. Meet Regularly (either in person or remotely)
  2. Agree a Coordinator, or 2, who organise meetings and communication within the group
  3. Agree a Wellbeing (Regen) Coordinator or 2
  4. Have a mixture of people willing to be arrested and those who’ll support them
  5. Rotate roles including: facilitation, post-arrest support and coordination, etc.
  6. Have a buddy system - so everyone has a Buddy they check-in with regularly (suggest once/fortnight or more) and who can stick together on actions.

Resources

Action Consensus

We have a standard Action Consensus based on our principles and values, that can be adjusted for specific action plans.

Action Consensus here 

How to make decisions in response to a live situation?

Action Co-ordinators or Affinity Groups should set a decision making process for agreeing how to shift plans based on a changing live situation in an action, and on the agreed action consensus.

Location/s

It is a good idea to visit the location prior to an action to have a clear idea of what will happen where, which parts of the terrain are public, or private, or a highway. And how to create disruption in a safe way. And what the differences in criminal charge could be for doing an action in those different legal areas.

You will need to decide how to publicize the location. Do you have people gather at the location you are disrupting, or have them gather in a publicized location and keep the area you want to disrupt secret to a smaller group of people, either the action co-ordinators, or the affinity groups. This may allow you to get closer to a building or location as the police or security services can not plan as precisely for what you will do.

Legal, Arrest, and Support

As a mutually supporting network we are all responsible for ourselves, and while we support each other as best we can, your actions are your own. It's important to prepare yourself for all eventualities before attending an action.

It isn't possible to predict whether you will be arrested or not. Prepare ahead.

And see section below on strategy, arrest, police and security.

Logistics

Working out how to get what you need where and when, and then pack it up at the end.

It’s useful to have teams prepared to bring equipment, but also take it home again at the end.

Have trollies or other methods to move around large amounts of leaflets, posters, flags, banners or other props involved in the action.

Sound Equipment

Noise can be important for a protest, Sound Systems are useful for amplifying speakers and keeping the crowds energy with music. Megaphones are good backups, or drums for dancing, also see the Mic Check technique from occupy, for speeches self amplified amongst a crowd.

Source speakers or sound systems from friends, or local systems or party crews.

Aim speakers at buildings or corners of walls to increase volume. Stands or lifting speakers high, will help to get the sound to travel over the crowd. Keep microphone behind speakers to avoid feedback noise. Turn base down and treble at 12 for microphone. For music, turn bass up, but is a drain on battery.

Work with a crew of 3 or 4. MC to facilitate equal time and gender balence (work with events co-ordinator see roles below), Sound Engineer, Movers of equipment, And look out for police and what action they may take.

Bike Soundsystems are mobile, but they can be large and hard to store, trolly speakers, or speakers on stands could be better for your group. Mobile systems are useful for moving crowds, relaying announcements, and setting up people's assemblies in a protest.

You could ask people to bring multiple sound systems which can be linked together wirelessly, for example “mini-rigs” and collectively create a large noise, or sync using a local radio broadcast.

In the UK, it is easier to avoid being stopped by the police if the soundsystem is moving, as it’s the same as a car stereo. However you may often get away with being stopped somewhere. Larger systems might get more attention and hassle from the police, in recent years used smaller 12V bike or trolly systems seem to receive less attention from the police. The police may ask you to move, turn it down, or off. They may try to use laws such as obstruction of public byway, or highway. Research laws they can use and work with legal teams, and respond in ways in line with the action consensus, perhaps explaining there are no organisers and the group will decide together how to respond.


Action Regenerative Culture

People

For the three main roles involved on the day in action regen you need a lot of trained, briefed and ready people. GDPR ready spreadsheets will be your friend even if it doesn’t seem so at first.

For Arrestee support you need to have people ready to go to as many police stations in buddy pair as possible. This includes through the night where it is kinder to have your AS peeps working in shifts. There also need to be someone in the back office communicating with Legal about where the arrestees have gone. For example, on the Bridge action day (17th of november) when there were 83 arrests, arrestees were sent to 13 different police stations. This would require in an ideal world; 4 people in the back office keeping track of where to send AS buddies, 2 briefed people per police station working in 6-8hr shifts, anyone after action/off of social media that fancied a party. This totals out at having 84 people who have been trained/briefed + more for the after party. There is a doc outiling this system linked later in this workbook.

For First Aid you will need to find people that have had the training or fundraise to train people up. The recommended amount of first aiders is 1:1000 for a march that is expected to be chill. So depending on the action expected you may want to up that proportion significantly, on the bridges we had about 1:500, on days where everyone was locked on 1:100. There is a national network of first aiders for XR being put together so if you are having trouble finding first aiders in your area, contact national and they may be able to help.

For Action Well-Being you need teams where at least half have attended an action as a well-being person before or have been to a specific WB training, and everyone has read a thorough brief. Buddy pairs should be set up so that the newer WB peeps can learn from those with experience. If doing any kind of action where groups are likely to get split up (swarming, kettles) you need enough WB people that there can be a pair with each likely group. On the Bridges there was a group of 6-10 WB people per bridge, which was around 1:60-100.

Kit

Will vary greatly depending on action, location and season but here is a guideline:

First Aid Kits

Warm/waterproof things: Blankets, Tarps, Umberellas, Hand-Warmers

Snacks: Tea! Urns/Flasks of hot water, Water, Biscuits, Trail Mix, Small things full of energy.

Sanitary stuff: Shewees, buckets, sanitry towels/tampons, Hand Sanitiser, Wipes

Action Specific: Nail Varnish Remover

Misc: Pens, Paper, Tape

Media and Messaging

It is important that there is strong messaging behind an action which has been agreed on by those performing the action and those who will promoting it via media channels. When preparing an action, it is useful for both Action & Logistics and Media & Messaging to agree on the following:

  1. The main narrative
  2. Facts to support choice of action
  3. Spokespeople on the ground who can speak confidently on (1. and 2.) to press

It can be useful to create a ‘Key Messaging & Factsheet’ document around an action to share with Press liaisons, Spokespeople, Content Creators and Affinity Groups. Example BBC action here.

Messaging strategy for any action must always be in line with the Core Values (see top of this document). It is also useful to consider Extinction Rebellion’s 3 Demands when formulating action and messaging strategy: XR Key Messages and Demands (one pager).

It is useful to have people (or at least, one person) working across each of these four Media & Messaging sub-groups. They can work together prior to, on the day, and post the action to maximise effectiveness of messaging narrative.  cut-through.
- Content        - Press                - Spokespeople/Notables                - Social Media        

Wellbeing messages should be shared through all channels, as well as internally with people performing actions (e.g. arrestee support). A wellbeing rep can be embedded within the Media & Messaging team to handle this and work with the appropriate sub-groups to disseminate messages.

BEFORE THE ACTION

Messaging prior to the action can be considered twofold:
(a) recruitment - calling for people to join the action
(b) action messaging - alerting local authorities and community groups to the issue

When publicising the event, think about who you’re talking to (locals, green campaigners, school kids), where they are (Facebook, community notice boards, listening to local radio) and what language they speak (science/facts, supporting their community, spirituality, empowerment).

Then - speak to them, in their language, wherever they are!

Setting up Facebook Event guide here


Content
- Line up videographers/photographers to be at the action. Decide how you’ll be sharing media.

Press
- Find out the numbers of your local newspapers, broadcasters, press outlets etc.
- Call the media the day before/a few days before, lining them up for the action. You don’t need to give away too much info, but, judging the trust level, enough to make them excited.
- Send out press release the day before/a few days before the action, giving them enough time to mobilise to get their reporters on the ground.

Spokespeople/Notables
- Determine a few spokespeople who are confident on the messaging of the action and are willing to be on camera. They will be ready to respond to press reporters or be interviewed by people making content (nb: of course anyone can, and should, be interviewed to allow a variety of voices coming through - it’s useful to have people lined up for max impact)

Social
- Create an event for the action and share widely. Consider any legal implications.

  • Arrange for a/several livestreamers, live tweeters, and live Instagram story creators to cover the action as it happens
  • Liaise with Content and Press teams to post the best photos, videos and news stories of the event afterwards on social media channels

Wellbeing
- Co-ordinator will liaise with the Action and Legal group to determine nature of the actions and communicate legalities and possible repercussions with people involved. Will also share information of support events prior/after action with people involved.  

ON THE DAY

Content 
- Line up videographers/photographers to be on the ground on the day. Decide how you’ll be sharing media. It is also useful to embed a videographer/photographer/writer within each Affinity Group to follow actions.

Press
- Depending on the action, you may want to send one or two more press releases on the day

Social
- Share regular updates with videos/photos from the action, making sure the narrative is clear
- Pay attention to Spokespeople/Notables who you might want to tag in posts
- Ensure that on the ground there a combination of live streamers and content creators for edited content following the action; they can run a commentary and possibly interview people at the action to get their point of view

Media & Messaging Strategy Pack here

Link to be added when complete. Stay tuned on Basecamp/emails for the Media & Messaging Strategy pack which will include a comprehensive guide (including press training info, social media live streaming best practice etc.).

Facebook Event Set Up here


Legal, Police and Security

Overview and Links

The following ideas are mostly based on the experience and work of long term activists dealing with the Metropolitan Police, in London, in the UK, in 2018.

Information on the law, police and arrest will differ between and within countries, and between the individuals or groups being dealt with by the security services.

Extinction Rebellions actions have been focused on creating disruption through committing civil disobedience. These low level crimes, acts of rebellion, shift what people are willing to risk to change a system which is risking all life.

By creating actions where the police either have to arrest a large group of non-violent people, or allow the disruption to continue. The first would result in disruption of the legal system, the second legitimises your protest and allows continued disruption of the road, business, or government.

The decision to risk arrest, or criminal prosecution, is a personal one, and is of course implicated by one's personal and social position. There is room and roles within our movement for people who don’t want to take on these risks for whatever reason.

It is important to state that the police and security forces differ from place to place and so it is important to research and learn from those activists who have already worked in your area and understand protest law, and the state response to protest in your part of the world.

What happens if I’m arrested here

Legal Briefing for activists here

Bust Card here (This might need to be tailored to specific actions or localities)

Going to Prison Briefing here

Legal Support Team briefing here

Arrestee Support Steps and Structures here

Legal Strategy

The legal strategy documents aim to provide you with an overview of how we can turn the criminal justice process (from arrest to prosecution) into an opportunity to advance our strategic objectives - in particular by raising public and political awareness of the climate emergency.  While we also refer to some of the risks of action, this document is not a substitute for legal advice. Even if you choose to represent yourself at the trial, if you're arrested, it's usually a good idea to take independent legal advice.

Below are links to a series of documents we are developing that can help you to support our strategic objectives through the legal process if that's what you decide you want to do - both when self-representing and when working with an experienced sympathetic solicitor.

In terms of preparing for an action it’s recommended that everyone reads Climate Emergency – What you need to know before heading out on an action. It’s a good read for everyone and also may help you later if you go to court.

If you think you might get arrested it’s also worth shortening, personalising and printing a personal statement to take with you to the action. If the police interview you post-arrest you could read the statement and answer ‘no comment’ to any further questions. The hope is that it will help force the courts to listen if your case gets that far.

Whilst the legal strategy is currently playing out in the courts in England and Wales, these documents could also work in an international context - although you should always use them in conjunction with advice from a legal professional.

We hope that taking action will be a very empowering experience. If you are part of an XR group then there will be group preparation also, this document is aimed at each XR Rebel. Part of being empowered is making informed decisions and in the Legal Briefing we talk about some stuff that may be new to you, or if you’re experienced it may be good to get a refresher. Make it your business to inform yourself by reading the Legal Briefing before you go.


Police

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is clear that the police continue to be structurally racist, injust and violent, particularly towards oppressed groups. We are totally opposed to such discriminatory practices. We are taking great care to design our strategy in a way that minimises the chance that the police will shut down our actions before these have reached a critical mass. In order to minimise the possibilities of police overreaction, XR will communicate with the police about what is already public related to mass protest events, always making clear that we will be respectful and nonviolent.

This is an attempt to define a strategic and tactical approach to the police, and makes a clear separation between creating a moral judgement and a strategy for action. Our approach to the police, like other nonviolent mass movements, is based on what will enable radical change. A key objective is to enable both the young and old to participate in protests and this becomes more likely if the police do not overreact. Additionally, the more we can encourage the police to allow our protests to continue through communication the more likely we can get to a critical mass of participation in civil disobedience which is our aim. We will therefore speak to the police before and during actions to make this more likely. In the event of a major confrontation, we will ask the police to put the interests of the people they serve before their orders by doing a “go slow” and/or refusing to arrest peaceful demonstrators. The social science research by Erica Chenoweth (Why Civil Resistance Works) shows that nonviolent movements are 60% more likely to succeed in achieving system change if they win loyalty shifts from the police. This becomes more likely if we communicate to officers the importance of thinking through the social implications of our current crisis, and we listen to their responses.

We have learnt, both from our experience in November 2018 and a body of research in successful system change, to develop a strategy around police, security forces, and the legal system, which will guide our actions leading up to April 15th and beyond. This research suggests that non-violent movements require a shift in the loyalty of the security services, and our approach to the police and other security services intends to aid this shift, as well as respond to the present moment we are in. As a movement calling for a shift in power and systems, we understand we may be met with violence or repression, from individuals, the police, or the military or security services. It’s important to prepare, train, and plan for this possibility, not create a false sense of safety or security. We will continue to reach out, to listen to other activists, communities and experienced individuals, for advice on this topic, and to develop a shared understanding of how to move forward together.


Communication with the Police (extended version here)

Before Actions

Once an action has been made public on Facebook and the plans have been agreed by the action team, it is good to arrange a meeting to speak with your local police. This can be in a local cafe/somewhere comfortable. If you are hoping to win some concessions from them, it might also be a good idea to give a cake or something similar that they can take back to the station. The key point here is that from the psychological research (See Robert Cialdini, The Psychology of Persuasion), that people are more likely to make concessions when you are nice to them. It may sound obvious but the research backs it up and whole point of our interaction is to strategically get more support for XR, not a moral stance on the police force as a whole, so it's worth bearing in mind.

Before the action it is good to discuss the details of the protest and give them some assurances about the strict nonviolent nature of the protest and how long it will last. If blocking roads for example, it will be good to get an agreement together on the timings (“We’ll be in the roads for 2 hours”). The more you can stick to this, the better the relationship will be going forward. Again the key point is we want them to help us facilitate economic disruption and in the event that they consider to start arresting people we say “okay that’s no problem, that’s your job”. However, if you want to avoid arrests on the day, it is good to stick to agreed timings. For road blockages- it is also good to ensure they are aware of any traffic blockages so that they can redirect traffic. Ensure them that in the event of absolute emergencies e.g terrorist attack etc, the organisers will do their best to get people off the roads.

Note: We are not asking for permission but informing them. Don't identify any organisers or leaders. The contact person is a liaison not an organiser. Explain that the group or protest would need to make decisions collectively in response to police requests. Any named organiser or leader immediately risks a different set of legal charges. It's OK if its obvious who organisers are, so long as they aren't named or self-admit.

Once you have established some kind of “working protocols” with the police, both sides are happier as both become more predictable in their actions and so can help us to achieve our aims.

At this point XR has had lots of interactions with the Metropolitan Police in London so they are very aware of nonviolent and organised protests. If you are dealing with police outside of this area, it is good to ask them to contact the MET to reassure them of our nonviolence etc. You should direct them to contact Wayne.Tebboth@met.police.uk who is the main person who has been working with XR in London.

In terms of the risks - e.g. if liaising with police there may be a risk of being targeted for arrest at some point - it is worth knowing how to mitigate against them but also recognising that we are in open rebellion against the UK government and there is a chance people will be arrested. To mitigate for the risk of the liason being arrested as an organizer it will be good to direct the local police to London/ Bristol Police who have experience working with XR in a civil way.  When there's more experience and the growing trust and respect with the police, this will come with time as a good mitigation.

Example situation

Paul from Cornwall organises a march in the local area. On the day, the police inform Paul he will be arrested if the march continues as he didn’t organise it with them beforehand. Paul knows that it won’t be illegal if the march stops moving and decides to stay in the same place. The police decide not to arrest Paul.

Best way to mitigate for the risk above is to meet with police beforehand to discuss the march route so you are legally allowed to run and that you are familiar, as Paul was, with the laws around marching.

More about the conversation:

  • Say “We are here to inform you that a protest is going to take place...” Give date, times, location, and other publicly available information.
  • Tell them it’s a protest – not an 'event', etc. – this is important legally.
  • Tell them what we are protesting about.
  • Reassure them that, on the day, they can trust us to do what we have told them.
  • Remind them that this is a strictly non-violent organisation.
  • Say we aim to have a respectful relationship with the police.
  • We respect that they have a job to keep the public safe and we will help with that as far as is possible.
  • Say “We would like you to inform emergency services and transport services so that they can be re-routed.” [They may refuse to do that, in which case we can do it.]
  • Ask about arrests:
  • "If you do decide to arrest anyone, please remember that we are non-violent."
  • Ask: "Do you use a 5-step warning procedure as used by The Met?
  • Otherwise, what is your pre-arrest procedure for non-violent people ‘of sound mind’?" – there will be one.
  • [This might not be popular!] Introduce someone as the contact point and give them a phone number for the day.

On the ground/During Actions

It is useful for a number of reasons that all protestors remain respectful and non-violent towards the police. However it is also important to make clear in the culture of the protest that we don’t give information to the police on other activists, organisers, or ourselves. And that having a respectful open communication with the police does not mean telling them everything.

It is useful, partly for this last point, to have one or a few people in the role of police liaison.

This role will involve being the point of contact for police on and before actions- this role does not make you an ‘organiser’ of the action and it is always good to highlight that you cannot control the protest, the people will do as they wish, but that you can liaise with between those involved. For example, if the police are saying to get people off the streets or they will start arresting people, you would say “okay thanks for letting me know, I’ll pass that message on to those organising so they can let people know”.

On the details of dealing with the police

Nonviolence sounds great but what does it mean in practice? The actually nitty gritty of how to deal with the police can have a massive effect upon how they decide to handle a protest. We should not underestimate the effect of human connection on decreasing the likelihood of overreaction by the police. Of course nothing can be guaranteed but based upon experience of many civil disobedience actions in London over the past three years, the following course of action always seems to defuse tense situations.

Go up to the first police you can see as soon as they arrive on the scene and say is an assertive but calm manner

“Hi, I’m just want to let you know that this is a wholly nonviolent and peaceful protest”.

Then

“We respect that you have to do your job here”

Then

“My role is to speak to the police so if there is anything you want to ask about the protest today you can see me”

You might get into a bit of a conversation at this stage when they might be quite standoffish in which case feedback back to them and then repeat these key 3 statements in a different form as you see fit

Police person “you know this is really silly and frankly selfish. I really don’t know why you people want to block people getting to work”

“Yes it’s causing a disruption – it’s a protest and I just want you to know that everyone here is committed to staying nonviolence and engaging a peaceful action.”

DO NOT – argue with the police person about his or her political views – but just feedback. Don’t say “but” – your role is to listen and communicate effectively the above three points.

It is very likely that once you have said this 2 -3 times they will calm down and you can engage in a bit of small talk or if they still look pissed off leave them be for a while thanking them as you leave. “Okay so thanks for speaking with me about the situation.”

It is also good to ask who is the police officer in charge and go up and introduce yourself.

“Hello my name is Joe, I’m just coming to say let you know this is a nonviolent and peaceful protest…”

On XR actions where it is clear that nonviolent behaviour is bring stuck to the police tend to calm down quite quickly but they may start asking you lots of technical questions. Obviously you don’t want to tell them what your exact plans or the names of anyone else. However there is no problem telling them what is already publicly known.

“Yes we are blocking this road for the next two hours as it says on the Facebook page”

They may also try to get you to move by saying they will arrest people or by guilt tripping you

“Really you are blocking people getting to work here – its not going to help you cause”

“So if you stay in the road any longer people will get arrested”

In reply you can say.

“ I agree we are blocking the road so anytime you decide to arrest people then that is fine. I would appreciate it if you can let me know if you about to start arrests and I can talk to people about it. So my understanding is that you will give a 5 stage warning before you take people away. And we would also appreciate it if you can be civil to protesters and move them in a way that doesn’t cause physical pain.”

Assuming the situation is calm they will almost away agree they will compile with you on your requests here.

Obviously they may try it on with the threat to arrest. But they are very unlikely to do so unless there are more police than protestors. They will usually have to call for extra police and will not start arrests until this is done.

They are always keen to know “who is in charge” or ask “so are you in charge here”. In which case you can say.

“Basically there is no one in charge as people make their own decisions on what they plan to do. I am not able to tell people what to do but I can communicate to people for you. “

While you are waiting around it is good to occasionally go up to officers you have already spoken to and ask if there is anything you can help with and engage in a bit of joke/small talk. Again this consolidates the calming of the atmosphere. Police are usually surprised to be spoken to in a civil and friendly way and this can lead to a calm and easy arrest situation if that does occur. Creating a friendly calm atmosphere will empower people attending the protest so they will feel more encouraged to come to another protest. If they are observing and not intending to get arrested then they are likely to feel that “getting arrested is no big deal” and decide to get arrested next time. The calm atmosphere also engages the participation of all members of the community – both kids and young people, as well as older people. Thus the movement can become more inclusive and grow. And larger movement participation is the key requirement for radical political change to occur.

Some final comments.

It is important to communicate in a briefing sheet given to all protesters, and directly face to face in small groups, that nonviolence does not include

  • Being aggressive to police – verbally or physically        
  • Physically trying to prevent arrest by locking arms etc.                 
  • Running away from arrest - or running to get to a wall to paint etc.         
  • Getting into physical contact with police either by trying to jump over barriers or pushing past them.

All these behaviours encourage police aggression and create a tense atmosphere which will alienate new people from participating future actions. The people organising the action should have designed in how and when people will get arrested without the need for the above actions. The aim is to block and/or get arrested in a calm way. Remember the key factor is numbers on protests not how aggressive or physical the protesters are.

Arrest

Security


Legal and Arrestee Support Structures

It is important to prepare systems to support those who have been arrested, while they are in a cell, when they come out, and throughout court proceedings which could last for many months after an action, if the state decides to press charges. Legal Support Team briefing here and Arrestee Support Steps and Structures here.

Roles involved in the Arrestee Support process:

  • Legal Observers: On the ground at an action. Legal observers are trained volunteers who support the legal rights of activists. Legal observers are independent from the protest and do not participate. They monitor arrests, collect witnesses and help connect arrestees with support in the police station.
  • Back Office: Answering the action day phone (please don’t use personal numbers). Acting as a central point of contact for Rebels, members of public,and arrestees. Collecting  and sharing Information from Legal Observers, Well Being, Arrestee Support and Solicitors. Please don’t give out personal details without permission from the individual. Minimum 2 people in the back office, this can include the Police Station Support coordinator. 1 person for roughly 15 arrestees, numbers decided in conjunction with role below.
  • Optional Back Office Well Being Mobiliser: Only necessary if there are more than 15 arrests. Using information gathered by the LO gatherer to send people to police stations, co-ordinating shift changes and receiving information from the arrestee support debriefs with arrestees 1 person for roughly less than 40 arrestees.
  • Arrestee Support Ground Coordinator: Organising in location, doing debriefs, making sure people take breaks, helping maintain a chill happy space. Cannot drink! Must maintain sobriety. 1 person at any one time per police station, may work out at 2-3 per police station with shift changes.
  • Arrestee Supporters: Doing debriefs, making sure arrestees get transport home and that are comfortable/happy after their stay. Giving massive props/love to the arrestees. Must be sober. 1 person at any one time per police station, may work out at 2-3 per police station with shift changes.
  • Arrestee Partiers: Giving the arrestees massive props! Building a fun supportive loving environment for people to walk out into. As many people as possible.  

 Connection between Roles/Info Sharing/Location:

Note: there should be at least 2 people at a police station at any given time, buddied up, but only one is to be a coordinator.

Creating Beautiful Rebellion

The Visual Identity of Rebellion

Design Files and links to Materials

Here are templates for the extinction symbol, our logo, the fonts and colours we use, the messaging we use, and other designs we have used to date for stickers, badges, patches, posters, stencils, placards,  flags, banners and more.

Printable Art Files here

A message from the Design Team:

Beautiful is a loaded word. After all one person’s beauty is another’s grotesque.

And talking about design is a lot like ‘dancing about architecture’.

Let’s just say our Extinction Rebellion vision is:

– More France ‘68 than UK ‘77 (or California ‘67 for that matter);

– Totally new but feels timeless;

– Both digital and analogue;

– Angry and peaceful;

We hope you love it.

And, please,

REBEL FOR LIFE

(unique slogans are very, very important)…

XR-ARTS FACTORY

#@# WHY AN XR-ARTS FACTORY

We called it the " Autonomous Anarchist Arts Factory" amongst ourselves, since it described what we were/are, the AAA-Factory, is factory the right word ?

We want a unified look with consistent quality, yet we like the stuff to be handmade by us. We want to save money. We want to use ecologically sound materials, preferably recycled. We want our work to contribute to creating amazing photographs that tell the story of XR, images that spread the message. We embrace imperfection, mistakes, over/under inking, the human touch. We have a DIY attitude, and it’s so joyful to work together, on one of the most important projects.

#@# RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PHASE.

What is needed for the protest/campaign? The graphics and messaging team had done huge amounts of specific work, and taken feedback,  so the work evolved, in some Holacratic manner.

XR Artist: We spent much time and effort making prototypes, testing them showing them to the group to get feedback, testing all the types of inks, taking advice from master makers on best techniques.

For the flags the dimension decided on uses half width of standard fabric width. The pole length being long to keep the flags above people’s heads, also it’s safer that way. Super light fabric was found so that they always flutter in the slightest breeze. We used many colours to signify our diversity.

We like HiVis since it signifies hazard, and activists would be doing roadblocks so it is a safety consideration. There was much discussion about imagery, and there is more variety on the way. We mostly used yellow since the LEGAL OBSERVERS  wear orange. Many wood blocks were made over the months, and with each batch of prototypes things were changed and improved.

I had made lots of patches before, so improved design over subsequent batches

#@# SOURCING SAMPLES AND SUPPLIERS

Start early so that you get great deals and there will be no hitches in production. It takes time to find suppliers and receive samples. The HiVis comes from clothing recyclers, its cheap but takes time. Be prepared for a developing situation, the movement has to experiment and change and we all have to be ready and flexible.

#@# PRODUCTION PRODUCTION PRODUCTION

RECRUIT THE MAGNIFICENT 7

You need a consistent team, we had 2-5 people per day from a stable of 7. This was a manageable size since the people where dependable. The same would be true with materials, enormous quantities would be a burden. Often we would  have people drop in for a few hours after work, this was great, by that time we would be tired, so we could slow down, tidy up, cook for the team.

BLACK BOARD WITH GOALS AND PROGRESS

We had it written out, target, number completed. So Satisfying, and part of telling everybody everything.

ROTATE JOBS

So that everyone stays fresh and people can learn new skills.

TELL EVERYBODY EVERYTHING

Then let them organise themselves, this empowers the team and frees up the coordinator.

#@# MAKE THE FACTORY A MICROCOSM OF RISING UP

At some point the core principles had seeped into us. We listened to Anti-Consumerist music and Lyrics by Wladimir M. - Planet E, which was a continual reminder of our aims and ideals. We enjoyed making the Future Anarchist Utopia a reality, even if only for a few weeks in the AAA-Factory.

#@# CHANGE THE LANGUAGE WE USE

When talking about the work we made we fell into traditional patriarchal/individualistic/ neo-liberal language. It only takes a little effort to remind people how many dozens of people are involved in making one patch; from funding to admin, farmers to factories, outreach, etc.          We are linked and working together, with love and rage.

@#@ WORKSHOPS AND OUTREACH

We continue doing workshops printing on peoples’ clothing. So the symbol and messages will be seen everywhere. More blocks are being cut with normal clothing and the human body in mind. The words and imagery are slowly expanding, becoming less specific. We go back to the research and learning stage with more time. At the workshops we talk to people to encourage them to come and find fulfilment working for XR, in its myriad of groups and roles.

Roles and Checklists

Roles for Actions

Following are the key roles that are useful for carrying off successful actions.

The numbers in each role will change depending on the success of your outreach and training, and your actions will change based on the numbers to fill these roles.

Role

Description

Action Working Group

Plan Actions in line with the movement’s strategy, prepare those involved. Source the equipment needed, and ensure those using it know how to.

Arts Working Group

Work with Action Group to help vision the action, and create or source objects, banners, patches, costumes, etc. to create an action which works on a creative level, visually, audibly, etc.

Action Coordinators

Ensure the actions and arts team vision is realised as much as possible on the ground. Respond to live info and make decisions on any changes to the vision and plan.

Arts Coordinators

Ensure the actions and arts team vision is realised, ensure the visual and audible creative side of actions works for those experiencing it live and also that it happens in a way that can be documented internally and by the public and press.

Media & Messaging Co-ordinators

Organise relevant people to work within Press, Content, Social Media and Spokespeople/Notables prior to, during, and after the event. Work closely with the Action Working Group to formulate agreed messaging narrative for action. Also work with Wellbeing to share information for arrestees and Affinity Groups on the ground.

Logistics Team

Ensure art and tech materials arrive to the action, and are collected and taken back after the action. E.g. Banners, Flags, Megaphones etc.

Affinity Groups

Ideally groups formed as part of XR Non-Violent Civil Disobedience trainings. Who work together and trust each other to fulfil different roles within actions.

Arrestables

Could be within an affinity group, or trusted by Actions Group, to carry out potentially arrestable parts of civil disobedience.

Supporter

Could be within affinity group supporting the arrestables in their group, or generally supporting those putting themselves in vulnerable positions within the action.

Event Coordinators

Co-ordinating the program or schedule of the event side of an action, such as order of speakers or performers, helping inform the crowd of actions happening, or ceremonies, or other parts of the event.

Sound/Tech Team

To look after and ensure the smooth running of the tech at the event, most commonly soundsytems.

Press Liaison

A representative of the press team who is on the ground at actions, linking press to spokespeople within the actions, and in contact with the action co-ordinator to know where and when the press should be and so the co-ordinators have someone to send press to.

First Aid

First aiders are on hand in case of incident of injury or illness.

Wellbeing Team

To support participants in their looking after physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. They will likely be in and around the forefront of any actions, keeping an eye out for those putting themselves in vulnerable positions. Helping to prevent burn-out by supporting in moments of intensity and anxiety. They will be trained and briefed. They will work in buddy pairs in order to support each other and learn from the experience of others. The ideal people for this role have experience in nursing, counselling, paramedics, non-violent communication or are just really nice. :)

Legal Observers

More info on this role here:  … and gbc stuff here:

Non-Violent Communication Team

Helping de-escalate potentially violent situations that could arise in an action. more info here:

Energy Team

Help upkeep energy of actions, working with actions co-ordinator, to ensure at right moments we have chanting, dancing, or singing to keep a good energy within the protest, support those taking more risky action, and support the crowd to continue the action

Outreach/Welcome Team

To welcome members of the public and newer people to the action, to take details, and invite them to future events, and hand out flyers.

Arrestee Support

To work with legal observers to find out the situation for those arrested, and organise people to go and support those arrested, to greet them on their release and help them with immediate issues like eating, drinking, getting belongings back, finding way home or a place to stay.

Debrief Team

To organise debriefs for the action. To work with those organising, and those arrested to produce a report on the action, and take feedback and learnings from as many teams and individuals involved to carry forward to those teams working on the next action, to improve.

Court Support

Keep track of those arrestees whose cases are taken further in the legal system. Help organise solidarity actions. And help raise funds for fines (after they are sentenced). Try and provide systems for wellbeing support for those who are going through that process and might risk repercussions from their actions.


Check Lists

Suggested Check Lists to get you thinking of things you might need.

Before the Action, For the Action, After the Action

Materials

Actions

Capacity

Creating Banners/Placards/Props

Event Promotion (in print or online)

Outreach Talks

Printing of promotion material

Preparing Media and Messaging

Trainings

Have debrief dates set

Teams and Roles

Banners/Placards/Flags/Hi-Vis

Communication between teams

Teams and Roles

Megaphone/Soundsystem (s)

Brief Affinity Groups or Teams

Affinity Groups

Leaflets/Welcome Sheets

Disruption, Outreach, Visioning

General Public

Paint/Superglue/Props

Document it (photos, videos, etc.)

Food and Water?

First Aid Kit

Comms (phones or walkie talkies)

Store materials for reuse

Arrestee Support

Call out at protest

Debrief

Solidarity Demo

Court Solidarity

 


You’ve Done It

Mass Action - by an XR Organiser 

So you’ve done it, you’ve called in thousands to the capitol city to shut it down and they’re coming - thousands in the city streets - there to disrupt, to bring it to a standstill. This is where we have to treat it like any large public event - your responsibility is to retain peaceful, safe, sustained rebellion. We have a responsibility to each other when we are taking part in something like this - this is an opportune moment to empower everyone there to be part of it and prove that we can organise and police ourselves.

SPREAD OUT

Shutting down one area is fine, but targeting several will cause the most disruption - choose your areas for impact - Famous places for the visual impact, arteries to the the city for disruption, or bold statements (5 bridges). Tell everyone what you are doing - there is huge power in telling the government where you will be and when, this is an act of pure defiance - we are too many to stop, it is a reclamation of power.

Choose an area that is the “safer zone” - this is for families with small children and others that are unwilling or unable to be arrested or on the “front line” - if it is applicable - make the police aware that more vulnerable people will be present there. - On Rebellion day 1, Westminster bridge was half shut down anyway and was not “critical” (i.e. no need to clear and arrest) so chosen for visual impact and Blackfriars was named the kids bridge

Recognise important areas that need access for the public - Hospitals, Fire stations - we are here to disrupt, not cause harm - plan accordingly. The 5 bridges were chosen as they were shut down for the London Marathon and thus the city had a plan around this already.

ORGANISE

How ever many areas that you choose are treated like it’s own action - get all your leads for each area to create working groups - i.e. five areas require 5 wellbeing coordinators. They are in charge of working out what is needed collectively, gathering and training volunteers and splitting up evenly between the areas.

Thousands of people are coming! They want to be a part of it - use this resource - put out a form to sign up to be a steward, well-being, first aid, tech, to sing or talk etc. - the rebellion is a co-creative space and never underestimate how many people want to be of use.

FACILITIES, FACILITIES, FACILITIES

This feels obvious, but it so often forgot! We are living beings, and those needs need to be accommodated - talk to the local business owners and ask to use their facilities for food trade - get in food trucks, kitchens - if that’s impossible PLAN ACCORDINGLY - have teams around this to think creatively - use the local community or be ready to build.

ENTERTAINMENT, EDUCATION AND RITUAL

tbc….


Example Actions

Intro Ideas

This section suggests frameworks for actions, some can be actioned by a local group at any time, and some have suggested time frames so they can feed into an international narrative we are creating to build towards April 15th 2019.

There are hundreds of creative ways to create non-violent civil disobedience, and we can use our creativity to invent new ways, which we have already seen, here are some starter ideas:

198 Methods of NVDA here

Rising Up templates, many used by XR here (scroll down)

Below  are some more specific ideas you could use in the coming months.

Sharing Action Info: all the information below is in the public sphere. The actions rely upon mass participation rather than secrecy to be effective and thus this information can be shared freely and will be promoted on Facebook and social media. All actions will be nonviolent and accessible regardless of age, ability, class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. We welcome everyone and every part of everyone.

How to Share your Actions: please use this guide https://goo.gl/Ey9ayJ to create events from your own group’s FB pages and send Extinction Rebellion a co-hosting request on FB. That way you can still edit your events, they’ll use clear, inclusive language and we’ll be able to help coordinate all events for maximum impact!

Want to suggest a new creative act of non-violent civil disobedience for XR?

Action Ideas Gathering Form here

XR Action Strategy Doc here

More info from this and about other kinds of action below.


International Rebellion

April 15th going forwards

The main focus is ongoing occupations of capital cities starting on 15th April 2019 and to really focus Extinction Rebellion’s energy on this for maximum impact.

Events are already being planned and built-up internationally, including Quebec and Extinction Rebellion has groups/representatives in 119 countries so let’s see how big this can get! Details to follow, will include 1000s people in public, inclusive on-going day-long occupations in London and other capitals from 15th April until they are arrested or the authorities enter into negotiations and agree to our 3 Demands.

The core aim of the International Rebellion is to maximise disruption by blocking strategic sites in central London/other capital cities in order to present the authorities with an extreme dilemma – to allow us to stay and cause major economic and political disruption or to engage in mass arrests (1000s). Their other option will be to negotiate, which we want most, until our Demands are met. All three options work for our Rebellion as they create massive publicity for the fact we are finished as a society if emergency action is not taken immediately.         

International Rebellion Duration: at this point there is no defined end point – we’re inviting people to take 2 weeks off work from April 15th, if possible, and if not, we’ll each commit as much time as we can from 15th April. Details will evolve: flexibility and responsiveness is key.                 

The end date is not set as:

a) that would affect our ability to negotiate

b) we need to be able to respond as things develop e.g. we do not know at this stage if it will take 1 week to generate the pressure to get the government to meet our demands, or 2 weeks, or longer..!

The plan is not to have an ongoing Occupy-like situation for weeks on end, but to have a firm decision to finish once our Demands are met. Note: this is just a rough guide to get us started – we anticipate 10 000-30 000 from across the UK participating in the protest in Central London. Locations and timings will be agreed nearer the start date. We’ll aim to be nimble and responsive so we can change locations and tactics as needed.

We are in discussions NGOs, Political Allies, Influencers and Speakers to help publicise the Rebellion and give infrastructural support (people support, media, financing, etc.). Our plans don’t depend on these elements, but could be significantly enhanced if one or more of them come through.

We are planning for entertainment and a full programme of cultural political and educational activities and small group discussions. Ideally we’ll have some big name musicians, speakers and influencers to attract mass participation (30k+ as the Rebellion progresses).

We anticipate featuring our 3 Demands and various Solutions to the Ecological Emergency within each site, alongside wellbeing and sharing zones, climbing frames, skate ramps and innovative, attention grabbing art which itself will attract people and convey our messages. We may assign themes to particular days to build links with Allies, for example fracking on 17th April in solidarity with the anti-fracking movement and as a focus for fractivists to join on that day. Please come forward to ideas, time and energy to help develop other such themes days e.g a faith-based day, etc.

Coming to London from around the UK

  • We may hold walks, caravans and pilgrimages to London for the occupation over the days and weeks in the lead up to April 15th.
  • We may declare April 15th Free public transport day so everyone can get there by public transport for free (tbc).
  • We’re already organising coaches from across the UK and accommodation for everyone!

We are forming Action Project Groups and Sub-Groups to take on the various roles required e.g.:

  1. Overall         Coordination – to make the system-wide decisions: e.g. what, when         and where of street occupations, police liaison
  2. Media         and Messaging, Regenerative Culture, Legal Support, Arts, etc.         
  3. Physical - logistics: e.g. food, water, loos, accommodation, safety, etc.
  4. Production - PAs, performers, speakers, trainers, etc.
  5. Internal - Organisation: internal communication structure, nonviolent         discipline, stewards, NVC teams (trained in Non-Violent Communication – to be at each location).

This is under ongoing revision and development. To help with a particular aspect contact the relevant Working Group coordinator or AGEStrategy@protonmail.com


                                   

Second Week of Actions: 9th – 17th March

  1. Blood of our Children (9th March): Once we (UK) have 50+ people willing to be arrested we’ll pour red paint on the road at 10 Downing Street or other London government         building(s). The details of the action are here: The Blood of our Children: An Act of Civil Disobedience

Around the world/UK variations can include pouring ‘blood’ in front of MP’s offices, Parliaments, etc. ensuring each action has photographer and/or social media recorder to share it so we can maximise our impact.

2. Wales/Cymru 9th March National Day of Action Senedd, Cardiff and other locations                 3. The Blue Wave 2nd March Glasgow, Scotland.                                                4. Spring Uprising 16-17th March, Bristol: Festival, tbc - Save the Dates!

UK Blood of our Children: Provisional Plan.

To date the UK Met. police have consistently responded to our open mass actions in a “let it happen” way, rather than the arrest and repression option to resolve their dilemma. The next move is to up the stakes so that the police opt for the arrest option but not so much that it results in aggression. This is the sweet spot we are looking for – several hundred people arrested in one day in a calm, orderly, nonviolent way – as has been so successful previously e.g. for ML King and US Civil Rights Movement. This will provide valuable learning and experience in preparation for ongoing daily mass repetition during the International Rebellion.

The provisional plan is: 200+ people to commit to be at Westminster at 10am 9th March. The event would only go ahead if 50+ of us do it (we have 78 going and another 220 interested within hours of publishing this event, so it looks set to proceed!). Everyone brings 10 litres fake blood. Anyone who cannot carry 10 l can carry less/none – there will be lots of people to help, including those not willing to be arrested. The ‘blood’ will be in buckets/spray bottles/other container before we go where the police might apprehend us (everyone has the same type of bucket/container e.g. agricultural pump spray can in a rucksack).

We calmly process together, perhaps holding hands. Everyone, including younger people, will be briefed so they’re prepared for the dramatic nature of the action. Younger people will be fore-grounded if they’d like – e.g. being given the opportunity to lead the walk and speak with the press. If we’re stopped by police we explain we wish to proceed to 10 Downing Street as arranged with the police (see below) – if we’re prevented we pour/spray the ‘blood’ on the ground/ourselves – details to be agreed and consistent for all participants) – this will most likely result in arrest and getting paint everywhere. We’ll make our own non-toxic blood.

We anticipate they will prefer contained order and calm vs random mess and disruption so will do as they have to date, and support our right to protest and proceed to #10.

If we’re allowed to go to #10 Downing Street (or other location) we’ll form a straight line of 200+ people taking it in turns to pour/throw/spray the “blood” on the ground/ourselves and then sit down waiting to be arrested. Those not pouring ‘blood’ remain standing in silent witness.

Variations:

i) We could devise and sing a suitable song and/or shout repeatedly “Our children are going to die, our children are going to die” or similar statement.

ii) We could pour the ‘blood’ over ourselves as well as the road (sacrificial, symbolic, more difficult to deal with/disruptive – though may discourage arrest – needs further consideration).

iii) Blood on Our Hands – an alternative name for local versions of this action and the option of pouring blood on our hands and then leaving handprints on the road, key buildings, etc.

iv) In court the following day some may disrupt the court, e.g. by refusing to sit down and stop speaking about the truth of climate change: “I am duty bound to inform this court of a threat to the very existence of my family, my community and every member of the public and our society. This threat is being promoted by our government. I am therefore in a state of rebellion against this criminal administration and the state agencies, such as this court, that seek to impose its will.” Those of us choosing to may then proceed to speak for hours on the ecological crisis and the need to rebel. We will then be charged with contempt of court (where we could repeat the above disruptive process). This then may result in prison sentences and a backfiring effecting (where onlookers sympathise and join) as part of the build-up for International Rebellion. Note: there are further options around standing in court to speak (the convention being you stand then have the right to speak) vs sitting and speaking – which is more likely to be seen as contempt of court.

v) Key allied Influencers and Speakers will be invited to join us in being arrested to increase the profile.

The emotion and spiritual messaging of the action.

The action aims to get enough people arrested in an orderly way in one day to reach the headlines and wider public and political consciousness and to do so in a way which symbolises the disgust and anguish many people feel at the prospect of social collapse due to ecological breakdown, particularly how we are in the process of destroying our children’s lives. How this is created around the above basic architecture should have inputs from others – but some form of public emotion might be appropriate, e.g. children silently witnessing the arrests, or some variation on the theme could be very powerful, as could younger people being arrested. Although this has a spiritual theme it emphatically will be open to people of any or no religious beliefs – i.e. we are united in our desire to preserve life on earth. It is important to work with children and youth as partners.

                

Declaration of Rebellion

Mass Blocking in Capital City

Funeral March for Our Future

Pressuring Organisations to Call for Emergency

Roger to feed in Greenpeace Example….

Car-Free Cultural Event

Focused on outreach… so organised a few days before a public talk in the area.

Roger to feed in idea for Road Block Festival to outreach to communities….

Great event to train and skill up a new actions team…

Hybrid cultural events/recruitment
Shutting down a road with a multicultural event space, followed by mass flyposting/flyering with those involved in the road block.

A major road junction in one of London’s inner suburban areas (ket target areas e.g. Hackney, Camden, etc) is occupied by between 300 and 500 activists on a Saturday afternoon. The activists proceed to hold a ‘mini-Glastonbury’. An impromptu stage should be set up, if possible, in the middle of the occupied site, where a number of performances will follow; music, a brief extinction speech, testimonials, etc.

This is a short action that with time limits that should be kept to, lasting approximately 2 hours, with start and end times that have been communicated with the police in advance. This will decrease risk of arrest, as well as interaction with angry drivers. The point of this action is not to deter people from Civil Disobedience, but build confidence and experience engaging with it.

This is a multifaceted, movement building action. It will give people the opportunity to engage in Civil Disobedience through low level disruption, whilst promoting upcoming talks in an area. The road block is to be followed by mass flyposting, and flyering specifically promoting a talk to be in the area the week following the action. Again, low level CD, that will build confidence, experience and personal relationships.

This is a good confidence-building and movement-building action for local groups who may never have done this sort of thing before. It provides ideal practice in planning and coordinating an action, organising stewards, involving all the aspects noted above: - logistics, cultural activity, well-being and re-generation, legal observing etc. It also can be used to spread the XR message in key target areas.

Advertising for April and or a standard talk that will happen in area later.

A good follow-up is for teams to break out of the road block area at the agreed time and to round the event off by ‘carpet fly-posting’ the area.

Blood of our Children Action Idea

Mass action, using fake blood. This is a relatively simple idea for presenting the police with an operational dilemma. Around 200 people carrying buckets of ‘blood’ approach a famous site (Downing Street), pouring ‘the blood of their children’ in front of the gates as a protest at the genocide of climate breakdown and species extinction. When they all proceed to do so, the police are faced with the prospect of arresting a large number of people - something they prefer to avoid - for an offence (criminal damage of a non-negligible magnitude) which they are not free to ignore.

 

Mass Economic Disruption

Creating Materials

Window Shopping Actions

TO EDIT from Rosa

 Shop window intervention xr Initial research must be carried out into which establishments (shops/cafes/highstreet “interior stages” will suit this action. For example, often highstreet clothes shops do not have direct access to their window display areas. Make a list of the shops that do, preferably you will need to situate yourself or your banners in front of the mannequins or window displays. Gather as a group somewhere near the centre of town, have your banners ready (make sure the banner type you’re using for this action are rolled up, preferably on sheets of fabric/flexible materials for quick erection and quick get-away) When entering the shop make sure to not to engage with the security guards. Avoid eye contact with them, otherwise you will only have a few moments in the shop window until they remove you so the longer they don’t “clock on” the better. A minimum number of rebels needed for this action are 3 people (2 for doing the action, and one for documenting from the outside) make sure, if you’re documenting, that you get the name of the shop/cafe/ establishment - as when posted on social media later it could appear that these shops are sponsoring xr. On leaving the shop, you must thank and shop assistants/managers/security guards - they are doing their job by removing you. If you are a large action group, you could either disperse into smaller groups of 3-5 and intervene many shop windows simultaneously throughout the high street, or aim for establishments as a big Swarm; these could be banks, multinational corporations or chains - be mindful about who you’re targeting. Never intervene or target an independent cafe or shop. Try to dress nice for this action - aim for neutral colours that don’t take attention away from the sign. The Benefits of this action are: if it’s raining it goes you opportunity to warm up, stay dry and still present your signs/banners         You are taking advantage of the “stage” area that shop windows set up, using their lighting, framing of the window. Many people glance into shop windows as they walk past - if every other shop has an xr rebel/banner the sub messaging that the passerby experiences could strike interest  Gathering material to post of social media