Extinction Rebellion hit back at think tank report that branded them ‘anti-capitalist’

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:

Extinction Rebellion say they have been open about their funding

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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12 Responses to “Extinction Rebellion hit back at think tank report that branded them ‘anti-capitalist’”

  1. Patrick Newman

    It outrageously describes itself as a “think tank” but like the IEA and Adam Smith Institute, it is simply a Right-wing ‘agi-prop organisation that is secretly funded but basically supports the Tory Party peddling free-market ideology and the cult of the minimal state. At least it does not pretend to be an ‘institute’ like the IEA and the ASI. You can be sure it is not short of funds!

  2. Robert

    I too visited the website. Policy Exchange is a registered charity (I know!) – so I looked them up on the Charities Commission website, and viewed their audited accounts. The last full year logged with the Charities Commission ended 30/9/17. In that year, Policy Exchange received over £3m of voluntary income – but the sources of that income are not given. Does anyone know if the Charities Commission can request such information? By rights, that ought to be possible: after all, the Commission must surely be able to satisfy itself that an organisation is behaving in a manner commensurate with its charitable status. LFF, do you have the resources to look into this? And if not, who else might be able to? Carole Cadwalladr, maybe? I think this is in the public interest.

  3. Tom Sacold

    These people are anarchists not socialists. They are not interested in the well being and standard of living of the working class, but in the destruction of the industrial base of our economy. They are middle-class snobs who have no experience of the real world of work and struggle against capitalist oppression.

  4. A

    Mr Sacold,

    To whom does ‘these people’ refer?

    Do you mean Mr Newman and Robert (with whom I agree) or the members of the Policy Exchange?

    I am sincerely unsure because the tenor of your comments on other topics imply that you hold some views which are to the right of those of Attila the Hun.

  5. Alasdair Macdonald

    Apologies! For some reason most of my name was omitted when it was published. I always post under my correct name.

  6. steve

    The BBC wants to deprive those over 75 of free TV licences yet can’t even be bothered to undertake the sort of investigative journalism that would make paying the fee worthwhile.

    If the BBC wants more money it should approach the financiers of the shadowy pro-corporate ‘think tanks’ they like to publicise for kick-backs.

  7. Dr David Hill

    Intelligent people know what is coming and that is why our politicians are not that intelligent really now are they?. COP 21 (Climate Change Agreement) – Welcome to ‘Planet Hell’ in a Mere Generation –
    https://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.com/2015/12/cop-21-climate-change-agreement-welcome.html

  8. Patrick Newman

    Steve, surely you can recognise the over 75’s licence issue is a covert attack on public service broadcasting facilitated by weak BBC management devised by the sadistic political mind of George Osborne. The BBC is not a branch of the DWP and had they continued the freeby it would have cost them £750m a year – about a fifth of their total income!

  9. Clayton Palmer

    What was the BBC thinking when they agreed to George Osborne’s demands in the first place? Naive or weak or both?

  10. diana

    I have read the report and it is quite shocking the methods they have used to get people on their side. The support in London is dropping rapidly as they continue to impact on the lives of the poorest in the capital and now that their agenda has been exposed I have noticed that press reporting is absent . We just need them to implode within their organisation now and then they can go back to the country and shut up .

  11. Raphael

    I would take this questionably funded lobby group http://whofundsyou.org/ with a pinch of salt. Particularly as Richard Walton who joint wrote this report had to resign from the
    police to avoid procession: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/12180750/Former-Met-boss-retired-days-after-report-found-he-had-case-to-answer-in-Stephen-Lawrence-probe.html.

  12. Jon Davies

    I think it is a shame that Extinction Rebellion only consider the government and large organisations a target for their activities. I would like to see them also be critical of their own lifestyles as well as those of others. In the UK the average home generates around 3,700 kg of carbon emissions (CO2 equivalent) annually on electricity use and space heating (mainly gas). I would ask young people how they (and their parents if still at home) are going to reduce this themselves, by improving the energy performance of their own home. It’s something that can be done without asking governments to take actions. The technologies are there, better home insulation being a key one, if families are prepared to act.

    See data at https://great-home.co.uk/average-energy-consumption-calculator/

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