Fascinating look inside climate action group Extinction Rebellion. From its exuberant and disruptive public actions based on civil disobedience and non-violence, to its inner tensions and personality clashes. As the authorities’ stance becomes more aggressive, differences within the group come to a boiling point.
‘Disruption, that’s the key thing,’ says charismatic Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam. As an organic farmer, Hallam experienced the consequences of climate change when the increasingly irregular weather caused crop failures and layoffs. Within a year of its foundation in 2018, Extinction Rebellion got the idea of a ‘climate emergency’ to the top of the worldwide political agenda.
Rebellion follows the group from its inception to the breakthrough and jubilant ‘April Rebellion’ of 2019, and beyond. We see them blocking strategic traffic points and gluing themselves to the Shell offices, following Hallam’s adage: ‘If you’re not in prison, you’re not resistance’. At the same time, inner tensions increase as different strategies, styles and personalities clash. Eventually, Hallam himself becomes a source of discontent – not in the least from his daughter Savannah.
Hannah Prins is studying Criminal Law and International Law in Amsterdam. She is an ambassador for Stop Ecocide, an organization that belives that the destruction of nature should be a crime.
Within XR she is part of the Legal Cricle, training rebels before actions, negotiating with the police during actions and supporting lawyers in courtcases afterwards.
The right to peaceful demonstration is a right and not a favor and should be used extensively to pressure politics and businesses to radically decrease emissions.
Aaron Pereira grew up in the UK, and studied and worked in the US, Kenya and Germany before moving to the Netherlands. An engineer by profession, he grew increasingly alarmed by the climate crisis and its implications for the Global South, and frustrated by a lack of progress. Aaron became active with Extinction Rebellion in autumn 2019, organising and taking part in actions in Leiden and The Hague. When the Corona crisis hit, he and a group of fellow activists went online, starting the podcast Rebel Radio (https://soundcloud.com/rebel-radio-nl), which ran for 2 years.
Aaron is now working with a fellow activist on projects quantifying greenwashing in collaboration with Reclame Fossielvrij, InfluenceMap, and Utrecht University, is building an online game about fossil fuel companies, and manages an education project with the Leiden Migrant Helpdesk.