Yesterday a detailed and powerful account of one Manchester activist’s time in London appeared on Medium. Today we publish the first of what is hopefully a series of interviews with Manchester activists who have been in London. If you are/were there, you can answer whichever of these questions and send them in plain text (no attachments please!) to firstname.lastname@example.org. First up, Caz…
1. Who are you, why did you get involved, what have you done in Mcr and in London?
I’m Caz, involved because I’ve been grief-stricken for over a decade about what we’re doing to the planet and animals. I’ve felt completely hopeless and gaslighted by parents, friends, and family. Then a community appears that knows how I feel – with space to feel that grief. A community that says “let’s fight this together”, and so I fight. We have blocked the road on Waterloo bridge, lain down in front of number 10, stormed Buckingham palace, and I was arrested in parliament square.
2. How can XR be more inclusive, address legitimate race/class concerns
I don’t think I can answer this question. I’m a comfortable, white female jewess, and there are many women and jews involved.
3. What skills, knowledge, relationships do you think XR ppl need to cultivate in the short term?
self-organisation, resilience, public engagement and relationships with MPs.
4. Given that intense activity is unsustainable (emotionally, physically, practically), how does XR Mcr plan to sustain radical action over the summer?
Each person could do small bursts of daily activity, coordinated amongst affinity groups. Eg swarms, postering, flyering, etc. Then a big action every few weeks for a couple of hours.
5. What can so-called “non-arrestable” people do?
Social media, moral support, legal observing, well-being, banner-making, letter writing, press, admin, finance, etc
6. How does XR plan to cope with the “Tyranny of Structurelessness” identified by Jo Freeman?
I have no idea what that’s referring to. If it means the tyranny that comes from unfettered power, then it can’t be any worse than planetary ecological collapse so that’s a problem for future?
[Tyranny of Structurelessness is a 1970 talk by an activist in what was then known as “women’s liberation”. It argued that the lack of formal categories of chair, vice-chair, secretary didn’t mean that power was absent within a group, just better hidden, and could lead to unacknowledged or unchallenged cliques. ]
The next meeting of Extinction Rebellion Manchester will be on Monday 26 April, early evening (probably 6pm start), at a venue to be announced.
[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.]