My partner, Juliette, posted this to Facebook over the weekend, and it really resonated with me. Kinda similar to my recent post on XR and how “inconvenience” is sorta the point, but a bit more direct and to the point, and more powerful for it I think. Posting in its entirety, unedited, with permission.
I’m feeling a little exasperated by people complaining about the actions of XR.
People, we’re supposed to be annoyed by them. We’re supposed to be disrupted by their actions. We’re supposed to be talking about Extinction Rebellion and what they’re protesting. This is what protests are about! Think of the protests against the Vietnam War!
We literally can’t just ignore XR and go about our lives, no matter how much we want to leave our heads comfortably in the sand and pretend this shit isn’t real! The roads are blocked. Protesters are glued to the roundabouts and doors. They’re doing what they need to do to claim our attention, whether we want to give it to them or not. They’re demanding it! Why? Because this shit is serious, and we can no longer afford to cover our ears and say, “La, la, la!”, hoping it will just go away.
Another thing? I’m sick of hearing ignorant people complain, “Well, the thinking parts of our society don’t agree with this rubbish.” Really?? In truth, hundreds of Australian academics from many of our finest universities have signed an open letter in support of XR’s actions. As they write, “When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship. The ‘social contract’ has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty, to rebel to defend life itself.”
Bless those people willing to take a stand and act on behalf of all of us, in spite of our ignorance and aggression. As Columbus said, “Nothing that results in human progress is the result of unanimous consent. Those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to pursue that light in spite of others.”
Oh, and this notion that we should be able to calmly talk about what’s going on without disrupting and annoying everyone? Wouldn’t that be great?? If only people would actually listen. It’s all well and good to say that XR should go about protesting calmly without angering people. Where would you like them to protest? In the corner of an allocated public park where no one is listening or heeding the protest? Where people can honestly say that they didn’t even see XR? “Who’s XR?” Or do you agree with the government’s solution to ban protests altogether?? Let’s not even bother to pretend that we live in a democracy, right??
Here’s the problem: the vast majority (ie: 97%) of scientists have been warning us of this problem for decades. If we’d started doing something about it when the facts were calmly being placed on the table back then, that would have been fantastic. But no one took action. They’re STILL not taking action! Trump has just pulled out of the Paris Accord, FFS. And our government isn’t much better. Governments aren’t listening. Corporations aren’t listening. Everyone in power is so focused on greed and profit and holding onto their positions of power that they don’t want to take the necessary actions that will actually save humanity. And most people aren’t well-enough informed to know that they need to be demanding action from our leaders! Talk isn’t working.
Science says we have less than eleven years to turn this shit around! ELEVEN YEARS! It is time for drastic action. And instead of taking drastic action, our leaders continue to ignore the science. They seem to be afraid of taking any form of leadership stance on the issue, in case they’re voted out at the next election by an ill-informed public. They seem afraid of making any of the tough decisions!
So, XR is taking drastic action on our behalf, to force our community and our leaders to pay attention. They’re trying to shake us awake, out of our collective, ignorant stupor. Maybe that way the actual drastic action that needs to occur is more likely to happen.
I, for one, would like to thank those who protest with XR. They’re willing to be exiled, ostracised, and pushed to the periphery in order to be heard … in order to save us all.