Feeding the trolls – of XR, ad hominem abuse and the Kool Aid

So, as I predicted, and feared, the blog post I wrote about the atrocity of Extinction Rebelllion “strategy” “tour” was ignored in its content and instead drew the predictable ire of people who are desperate to believe that they, after all, backed a winning horse, rather than a nag ready for the glue factory.

I won’t go into the threat- that “I hope some other activists up this post, I don’t think you be allowed to walk away so easily.” Okay, I lied, I will. Wow. So, when you say critical things about XR, you should not be “allowed to walk away so easily.” Are some of those things the Daily Mail say about “scratch a greenie, find a Stalinist” possibly a bit true?

No, I will focus on the latest sad post (of someone who used to rate me very highly, as recently as February 2020, but has now forgotten all that) on Facebook. Their comments in bold, my reply in italics

right so ,let’s deal with the issues .

Great! You’re going to deal with the substance of my critique in the post. That’s great!

Your feelings are your business.

Well, that ended quickly. I think you’re projecting mate (look it up if you have to). You seem to think I have a problem with my feelings – perhaps you know that your feelings are giving you a helmet fire (look it up if you have to).

So, why so negative about what climate activists are trying to achieve, at the very least they are doing something.

I am “negative” (it is possible to be critical without being negative, btw) because – and this was made painfully and abundantly and repeatedly clear in the post – XR keeps making the same mistakes again and again and again. “At least they are doing something”. Two answers to that. One – what are they doing other than asking people to go on another London rebellion? And Two – “at least they” implies nobody else is. But there are DOZENS of groups doing stuff. This site and the one I used to be involved in – Climate Emergency Manchester – constantly report on what Stitched Up, Carbon Coop, Kindling Trust etc etc are doing. You are setting up a strawman. I am embarrassed for you

Why does this ” I’ll shit on you, and whatever you are doing” persist about you?

It wouldn’t persist if the shit behaviour – the repeated unwillingness to reflect, innovate, get beyond sage-on-the-stage (look it up if you have to) and ego-foddering (liuiyht), emotacycles and smugosphere (liuihytnn) – didn’t persist in persisting. Do something worth to be positive about, and I’ll be positive. Do the same old failed shit, and I won’t be. Is it really so hard to understand?

You are the only person I know, that believes it groundless.

Not quite sure what you mean here, grammatically and cognitively. I guess you are saying you don’t know anyone else who thinks XR is rubbish. Yeah, um, well, I know lots of people who do. Including folks who gave up on XR and got involved in Climate Emergency Manchester. Also, if XR is so great, how come those hundreds and thousands of people who were involved no longer are? How come even the media team can’t recruit (Hudson’s third law, remember)?

Is this some mark of machismo for you?

The spelling of my name is Marc. And no.

I will not just give way to you Mark, I believe you are wrong, negative and destructive in your attitude and behaviour.

I don’t care. I am not asking you to “give way.” What would be nice if you explained what in the blog post was wrong. Did I misrepresent the first half of the meeting? Did I misquote anyone? What – specifically – about my analysis – do you think is misplaced?

The tragedy is that, you don’t have to be confrontational, within XR it is possible to have your point of view.

No, the tragedy is that XR went up like a rocket and came down like a stick, and that this was preventable. And that it has burnt out and rendered unavailable thousands of people who might otherwise still be involved in radical sustained action on climate change. (A kettled jolly in Hyde Park doesn’t count).

You say I can have my point of view. That’s very generous of you. How do you square this with your earlier statement (which I have screengrabbed, btw) “I hope some other activists up this post, I don’t think you be allowed to walk away so easily.”

Clearly you believe I should be admonished, punished. Do you not even remember what you wrote half an hour ago?

Ultimately, we who have food on our table, water out of our tap, a roof over our head, freedom of information, assembly and speech, have a duty to be as clear-eyed as we can about what is happening, and whether our efforts to make the world a marginally less awful place, are having any effect.

We have the duty to see the world – and organisations to which we have given our love, time and hearts – as they are, not as we seem to need to imagine they are. We need to tell ourselves the Truth, not hide behind comforting chiliastic hallucinations.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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