Extinction Rebellion US Call to Action
April 15 - 22 2019
Extinction Rebellion UK has called for all XR groups worldwide to take action from April 15 - 22, 2019.
Extinction Rebellion US (XR US) is answering this call to rebel. We wholeheartedly invite other groups and movements to join in by taking action and/or doing solidarity actions with frontline resistance movements who are using direct action.
First, here's info on our long term strategy. Our April 15 - 22 Call to Action is below.
Long Term Strategy
Extinction Rebellion US’ long term strategy is to, in alliance with other movements and thousands of people, inspire and be part of instigating a national, coordinated economic and government disruption on an unprecedented scale that lasts indefinitely, until the government feels forced to concede to the four XR US demands. No one has ever tried to launch a rebellion of this kind in US history for any reason. There is no way to overstate the danger we face from climate change, and on their own, our institutions have proven themselves incapable of addressing the crisis.
Rebellion is Collectively Our Last, Best Chance.
Why a Rebellion and What Kind of Rebellion?
Many are successfully lobbying and protesting congress on climate change, moving them closer to where they need to be. There also have been many brave, heroic fights happening for decades using nonviolent direct action to stop fossil fuel infrastructure all over the US. Many in XR have been part of those fights. Some of those fights have been won. But when we look at our situation overall, everything we see tells us that long term we can’t succeed if we focus only on this model of isolated direct action. Whether it’s one day of symbolic actions, or full on resistance camps devoted to stopping one pipeline or other fossil fuel infrastructure, this resistance model hasn’t been able to stop or even slow down the overall growth of the fossil fuel industry in the US. Even when we win by stopping a pipeline, we are still losing the battle.
It can take many years to stop just one piece of fossil fuel infrastructure, and while we are working our hearts out to do that, the oil and gas industry continues to expand and poison our earth. Worse, sometimes these rare, hard-fought victories are later reversed. If we continue to only focus on lobbying congress and/or individual fossil fuel infrastructure fights on their own, without also planning and building for a national, coordinated rebellion, we will never bring about the systemic change we need.
We want to shift to a collective approach, so that infrastructure battles support all environmental movements in preparing for a national, coordinated rebellion that targets the government and industry as a whole.
Otherwise, we will continue to get the same result: greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise, and communities will still be sacrificed for the rich and powerful. There is another way that just might work. And it has worked many times in the past.
We can choose to follow the example of the many civil resistance movements abroad that used sustained, coordinated, national noncooperation and resistance to consolidate their people power, which kept going until they successfully forced their governments to concede.
This type of rebellion is premised on extensive research that shows conclusively that if 3.5% of the population in any country is actively engaged in sustained resistance over a concentrated period of time, governments inevitably concede or collapse under the pressure. The research shows that governments simply can’t endure this many people engaging in serious disruption if it lasts for an extended period of time.*
This is only surprising to most of us because we don’t realize yet that it’s only because many thousands of us cooperate that the government can run and that the system can operate. The moment enough of us withdraw our consent and refuse to carry on daily activities, the whole structure can’t work. If millions of people simply stayed home in a general strike for a week, for example, while thousands of others blocked key infrastructure nationwide, the government and industry would not be able to go forward. They don’t teach us this in school. They don’t teach us how much power we have collectively. But those who have successfully used nonviolent people power by the thousands are showing us the way.
XR US is working hard to build alliances with those organizations and people who are willing, or want to become willing, to make such a rebellion practically possible, in future.
Those who rule only have the power we give them. They need our cooperation. But they have lost their legitimacy. And when the time comes, we will not obey. We will not cooperate. We belong to the earth and to each other. And that is the only authority we will respect. Nothing will stop us, because together, nothing can.
Please be in touch if you’d like to discuss alliances for a future national, coordinated rebellion firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Erica Chenoweth: “Historical studies suggest that it takes 3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple brutal dictatorships. If that can be true in Chile under Gen Pinochet and Serbia under Milosevic, a few million Americans could prevent their elected government from adopting inhumane, unfair, destructive or oppressive policies – should such drastic measures ever be needed.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/01/worried-american-democracy-study-activist-techniques
The Call to Action for April 15 - 22 below is part of helping to lay the foundation for a future rebellion:
Call to Action for April 15 - 22, 2019
Disruption and Solidarity
1) Disruption, Confrontation, and Shut Down - No Business as Usual
We invite everyone who hasn’t already to do the painful work of confronting that fact that we only have 12 years to make the necessary changes to avert an unimaginable climate disaster, and to act accordingly. This is a process that can include anger and deep grief. We join you in this anger and grief. Organizing is the antidote to despair.
Overall, many of us need more courage than hope. Action is our best hope. We invite everyone to join XR in asking: “How will we become the people we need to be in order to do what’s necessary to stop this destruction of all life while we can?“
We call on everyone who knows we are in a climate emergency to use nonviolent direct action to confront, disrupt or shut down:
- target local, city, state, federal government buildings
- target fossil fuel companies and infrastructure
- target local, city, state officials - who gain power and make money while protecting the fossil fuel industry - in their offices or in family friendly protests at their homes and communities
- target right wing media outlets like Fox News or Breitbart for lying to the people to protect the fossil fuel industry and to enrich themselves
We call on all who can to not just target a location once, but to return, day after day, in creative ways.
For any rebellion to have a chance to exist, or succeed, we need disruption that escalates over time. XR US local groups nationwide have just gotten their start over the course of two months and are made up mostly of people with no activist experience. In January we successfully coordinated our first, small actions as a movement – now begins the work of growing our regional, national and international power.
Our goals for the April week of actions are for all XR US local groups to escalate in scale from previous actions in January. We need support to make that happen. We need trainers and organizers to get involved at the local level to help local XR groups scale up. And we need people to join with XR local groups to plan actions. Please contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to support.
April 15 to 22, 2019 XR US will do solidarity actions for movements resisting the fossil fuel industry that are using direct action and/or offer them direct support, and/or hold fundraising events for them. We call on all environmental groups, and other movements, to use the week of April 15 - 22, 2019 to do the same.
For any rebellion on the scale we described in the long term strategy section above to have a chance to exist, or succeed, we need true solidarity. So rather than using the April week of actions to focus on building XR US and raising money for it, XR US will use the week of rebellion, in part, to do what rebellions need the most: build solidarity, especially with groups and movements who are fighting the fossil fuel industry using direct action, such as frontline resistance camps and urban and rural environmental justice groups.
True solidarity is the strongest, most important force we can create to see us through the hard times that will come when we collectively try to stop those who will stop at nothing in service to their greed. We don't think a rebellion on the scale that matches other civil resistance movements is possible without changing XR’s current heavily white, male composition. These solidarity actions are meant to be part of building relationships with communities and groups who are most directly impacted by the fossil fuel industry with the hopes of building strong alliances. We are also putting resources and time to increase outreach to traditionally underrepresented groups to build XR US from the ground up, to collectively make XR be what it needs to be, to be effective. We will also be launching a speaking tour that will, in part, be connecting with frontline communities of color and poor communities to do support work and listen and share.
Much love and solidarity to all, see you in the streets.
Suggested Media Messaging for April 15 - 22, 2019:
For govt building targets:
Climate Justice Saves Lives
Climate Inaction = People Dying
Climate Lying = Communities Dying
We are Facing a Mass Extinction of Species
Climate Change = Ecocide
System Change, Not Climate Change!
Right Wing News:
Climate Lying = Communities Dying
Science Doesn’t Care About Your Opinion
Climate Inaction = Mass Murder
Climate Change = Ecocide
Climate Change Hurts the Most Vulnerable
Fox News Makes $ From Climate Denial
There is No Climate Solution Without Climate Justice
Fight Like Your World Depends on It
Climate Change is a Racist, Capitalist Crisis
Action is our Best Hope
We Will Not Beg World Leaders, Change is Coming Whether They Like It or Not
Only the People Can Solve the Climate Crisis
The Climate Crisis has Already Been Solved. We Just Need to Wake Up and Change
The Last Time the Planet Warmed this Much, 88% of Life Disappeared
Climate Change Worsens Inequality and Poverty
78 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a toxic-spewing coal plant
80 percent of Latinos live in counties that violate at least one federal air-pollution law
Latino children are two and half times more likely to develop asthma than non-Latinos
Water is Life
Life is Sacred
Human Life Depends on Biodiversity
We are Facing a Mass Extinction of Species
If the Bees Go, We All Go
We Need Courage, Not Hope
When Hope Dies, Action Begins
If the Ocean Dies, We Die
Organizing is the Antidote to Despair
Another World is Possible
1 in 8 Birds Is in Danger of Global Extinction
No more pipelines! No more stolen land!
Keep the oil in the soil!
We Can’t Drink Oil, We Can’t Eat Money
No Intelligent Species Would Destroy Their Own Environment
(Picture of a Dinosaur) They Didn’t See it Coming Either
Climate Change Can’t Be Solved through Personal Choice