Here’s another interview with an Extinction Rebellion person in Manchester. Others to follow… (here’s a link to the first)
1. Who are you, why did you get involved, what have you done in Mcr and in London
I am Paul Harnett, Co Director of World Basic Income. We believe that CO2 taxes should be imposed on the 100-200 largest CO2 extracting companies immediately. They should rise to $50/tonne CO2 very quickly and then take stock with a rise to $100/tonne to be considered. The revenues should go to a fund for a World Basic Income. They would be enough to give everybody on the planet (including children) $22/month and end poverty.
I have been to 2 actions in Manchester. One at Media City and one yesterday cycling through town
2. How can XR be more inclusive, address legitimate race/class concerns?
Give prominence to any minority groups represented at actions. Highlight that the impact of climate chaos is felt most by the poorest people in the world and drives migration
3. What skills, knowledge, relationships do you think XR ppl need to cultivate in the short term?
Media Training. Knowledge of the mechanisms to reduce CO2 emissions to neutral by 2025. Relationships with sympathetic media people, key people in the Irish Citizens Assembly, particularly those involved in discussing Climate Change, key spiritual leaders e.g. Pope, Dalai Lama etc.
4. Given that intense activity is unsustainable (emotionally, physically, practically), how does XR Mcr plan to sustain radical action over the summer?
Plan many “fun” activities – picnics/barbeques, music events, more cycle rides – as well as key demonstrations.
5. What can so-called “non-arrestable” people do?
Spread the message on social media, attend demonstrations but avoid illegal activities, talk to friends, neighbours etc.
6. How does XR plan to cope with the “Tyranny of Structurelessness” identified by Jo Freeman?
I am not qualified to analyse how “structureless” XR are. I would need to know how the 3 demands were decided upon. I can say that the 3 demands are reasonable to most people and I was impressed when I saw them, and I wish the MSM would highlight them more. I would be inclined to limit the demands to those 3 at present and simply work towards how they can be achieved, especially how carbon neutrality can be achieved by 2025. At the Media City event I was talking to some activists who were tempted to widen the issue e.g. anti capitalist but I think if you avoid such issues XR will appeal to a greater number of people. XR should stick to the single issue of Climate Chaos. XR does need to be wary of enrtyism from other political groups and causes (even World Basic Income!) and all those who speak on behalf of XR will therefore need to be vetted for potential entryism issues. You can also be sure that the government will be monitoring prominent XR activists and that we have seen undercover police infiltrate many radical organisations in the UK. This is likely to happen to XR. Structurelessness has advantages and disadvantages but for the moment gives XR the feeling of a mass movement with all equal.
7. Anything else you’d like to say.
I’m sorry I haven’t been to London yet, but may get down there next week.
[Manchester Climate Monthly, running since 2011 and preceded by Manchester Climate Fortnightly (2008-2010) is an independent news source, not affiliated to any political party or particular pressure group. The editor has recently co-founded Climate Emergency Manchester, a campaign to connect concerned citizens and get 4000 signatures on a petition calling on Manchester City Council to declare a climate emergency. Anyone who lives, works or studies in Manchester can sign that petition, and get involved in the campaign at whatever level they wish, learning new skills and making new friends.]