SHOCKER: Radical direct action movement thinks Britain's current political and economic set-up is broken.
Climate campaigners have hit back at a think tank report which branded Extinction Rebellion ‘anarchists’ intent on overthrowing representative democracy.
The centre-right Policy Exchange think tank – which was set up by Conservative politicians in 2002 – has published a report arguing that XR is ‘a campaign that seeks to use mass civil disobedience over climate change, to impose full system change to the democratic order.’
The report – co-written by the former head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command – brands XR an ‘extremist organisation’ and calls for a series of draconian ‘reforms’ to clamp down on the group, including stricter legislation relating to public protest ‘to strengthen the ability of the police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass lawbreaking tactics’ and calling for security and intelligence services to investigate the group.
The report criticises the group for using (non-violent) direct action – and politicians across political parties for supporting the group.
But Extinction Rebellion have hit back. In a statement on Wednesday, the group accused Policy Exchange of lacking transparency about its funding and who backed the report:
A spokesperson for XR said:
“Extinction Rebellion is a movement of mass civil disobedience with the principle of nonviolence at its core. Ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds from across the political spectrum have come together, united in our commitment to ask the government to act urgently in the face of the biggest existential threat our society has ever faced: global heating and ecological collapse.
“The system as it stands is propelling us all towards a bleak future of food shortages, drought, sea-level rise and mass civil unrest. This July is set to be the hottest month ever on record and follows the hottest June ever recorded. Evidence that something is urgently, desperately wrong.
“Extinction Rebellion is transparent in its funding, its aims and its principles – we have nothing to hide.
“Our demands are proportionate to the crisis we face: 1. For the Government to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change. 2. For the Government to act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. 3. For the Government to create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”
The group also pointed out they’d always been clear that the current political system is broken:
“If we are to have any chance of leaving a liveable planet for the next generation, the existing system needs to change and Extinction Rebellion is determined about its aim to make that happen by whatever non-violent means necessary. It is time to break the spell we are living under.”
In branding the widely-successful and well-supported Extinction Rebellion ‘anarchism with a smile’, Policy Exchange seem to be doing the anti-capitalist movement’s PR for them….
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.
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