Extinction Rebellion, one of the most visible and successful campaigns of the climate movement, has drawn much ire from the political establishment. But it is precisely because XR challenges the establishment that it has moral authority and legitimacy: its principles of civil disobedience and conscientious objection force politicians to take responsibility for their woeful inaction on climate change, and reconsider proposals like DiEM25’s Green New Deal.
The climate rebellion follows in the tradition of the civil rights movement, a sprawling grassroots protest fighting for communities of colour, their franchise, and the end of state segregation. Their fearless resistance to the corruption of status quo politics, undertaken at great personal cost and the risk of their lives and livelihoods, focused people’s attention on the moral abyss of life in a racist state. While conservative politics wheeled out a bankrupt morality to delegitimise the civil rights movements, civil rights leaders dared to do what was forbidden — and awoke a nation in the process.
The rising threat of climate change is rattling our societies. Those who profess easy answers are naive, but those who maintain faith in the same politicians who engineered this crisis are equally misguided. It is clear only a mass citizen lobby has the authority and imagination to make the choices necessary to move forwards.
XR must be a wakeup call. With environmental catastrophies already killing in the global south, the sense of a coming Armageddon must take hold.
DiEM25 believes that toxic energy systems owned by and run in the interests of the 1% have no place in democratic society and that all citizens perspectives must be heard and supported, especially those who stand to lose the most from climate change. We call on all politicians to stop maligning the XR movement and stand in solidarity by finding the political will to start making necessary changes to curb emissions as a matter of emergency.
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