Global Newsletter #52

The Not So Magnificent Seven

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Extinction Rebellion

Dead mermaids line the beach while the G7 serves up stale empty promises.

In this issue: G7 Rebellion | G7 Pass The Mic | XR South Korea | XR Muslims on Palestine.

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Introduction

Outside of comic books and Hollywood blockbusters, it’s not often that a small group of people can decide the fate of humanity. But that’s what happened a few days ago in a conference room on the coast of England.

The leaders of the world’s seven wealthiest democratic nations, and select guests, met for the annual Group of Seven (G7) summit. 5th place on the meeting agenda was a discussion about ‘climate and nature’.

The climate and ecological crisis has been overlooked at such events for decades. Previous pledges by the G7 nations to switch their economies to clean energy, and help finance the transition for countries in the global south, have fallen flat.

With the climate crisis spiralling out of control, and the crucial negotiations of COP26 just months away, rebels across the globe were determined to make this G7 different.

A march to the G7 media centre. Journalists were told to stop overlooking the climate crisis.

The result was the G7 Rebellion - a week-long festival of action targeting the G7 summit and demanding an end to the era of empty promises and disdain for the global south.

There was a wave of pre-summit protests along the UK coastline, as well as coasts across Europe and Asia, highlights of which are featured in Action Round Up.

Then there were the three days of flotillas, theatrics, and last-ditch blockades during the summit itself in Cornwall. We’ve somehow crammed it all into Action Highlights, where you can also read about ‘Pass The Mic’, a unique digital action that ensured voices from the frontline of the climate crisis were heard loud and clear throughout the rebellion.

XR Sudan outside the British embassy in Khartoum, Pass The Mic, June 10th.

Finally, we’ve got a report from a greenwashing extravaganza in South Korea, one of the guest nations of this year’s G7. It’s the first time we’ve covered the region in this newsletter, and shows the incredible reach and bravery of our movement.

Ultimately, the climate and ecological measures announced by the G7 were pathetic. It wasn’t just more empty promises, it was old empty promises repackaged as new ones. The complacency on show was difficult to stomach.

Amassed through exploitation and destruction, we cannot rely on economic power to diminish itself for the sake of poorer nations or future generations. We have to focus instead on building people power through global protest movements like our own.

We have to use our mouths to speak the truth, and our bodies to stop a system that issues puffed up promises with a smile while driving billions to their deaths.

The Group of Seven have failed to keep the world safe. It is our voices and actions that now matter. Not theirs.

A Korean rebel stands up against greenwashing outside a ‘green growth’ summit in Seoul.

Get involved in XR wherever you are! Check out our global website, learn more about our movement, and connect with rebels in your local area.

The Global Newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels that help new XR chapters grow. Read previous issues here.

We are in a crucial phase of human history, and we need money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.

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Contents

  • Action Highlights: G7 Rebellion, G7 Pass The Mic, South Korea.
  • Action Roundup: G7 Make The Wave, International Ro1, Animal Rebellion...
  • Upcoming Actions: XR Earth Fast.
  • Announcements: XR Muslims on Palestine, XR Jobs, Insectageddon.
  • Humans of G7: Lautaro Illayux, Columbia

Action Highlights

G7 Cornwall Rebellion: Old Promises Repackaged

11 - 13 JUNE | Cornwall, UK

The Day 1 march was a loud one, but earplugs were available. Photo Tristian Herbert

One thousand rebels descended on Cornwall last weekend for the G7 summit, many arriving by foot or bike after epic multi-day treks.

The disruption started with a dawn wake up call. Mermaids lay lifeless on the beach as a viking boat raised 5 long blasts from its foghorn. The G7 leaders were sleeping nearby. If they didn’t wake up they must have been wearing some pretty good ear plugs.

Day 1 of the rebellion was all about sounding the alarm, and that’s what rebels duly did in an array of friendly, theatrical and noisy actions within earshot of the summit.

The highlight was a march through the local town of St.Ives that featured a samba band and other noisy instruments. Among the hundreds of rebels in the procession were activists from the global south, each carrying letters for the G7 leaders. The cowardly summit gatekeepers refused to deliver them.

Do your dirty investments need washing away? Call the rebel scrubbers! Photo: Chris Jerry

Day 2 was dedicated to greenwashing, with actions that exposed how the G7 and their banks promise ‘green growth’ but then invest in fossil fuels and other ecocidal industries, while the media turn a blind eye.

Rebels marched to the G7 summit’s media centre in Falmouth, home to thousands of journalists from around the world, and demanded they do better. Along the way, rebel scrubbers stopped at local branches of HSBC and Barclays bank to give them a good clean after all their dirty deals with the fossil fuel industry.

In the evening, a flotilla of Ocean Rebellion ships projected messages onto the vast cruise liner housing the thousands of police needed for the summit. Slogans highlighted the vast carbon footprint of such vessels, and how fuel subsidies systematically destroy our oceans.

100 Penitents carry the sins of the G7 through Cornwall. Photo: Tristian Herbert

On day 3 came the results of the G7 discussion on ‘climate and nature’. They announced a plan to help finance renewable energy infrastructure in the global south, and pledged to protect 30% of land and ocean globally by 2030. It all seemed strangely familiar. Both were old promises repackaged.

The G7 also announced an intention to stop investments in coal unless it was ‘clean’ (using carbon capture technology to nullify emissions). It was a dismal failure to match the urgency of the crisis we find ourselves in.

With so much unfinished business, frustrated rebels set up blockades to try and stop the G7 leaders from leaving. Dozens of rebels locked on and danced across one main road, while 3 rebels parked a van across a nearby roundout and let off smoke flares.

Police responded fast and in numbers, using a cherry-picker to remove the locked-on rebels from the van’s roof, and clearing both blockades within a couple of hours.

G7 proved to be an event of mesmerising folly that glorified our world leaders while they collectively achieved nothing. The race is on to ensure COP26 does not end the same way.

Relive each day of the rebellion by watching these G7 livestreams on XR Youtube.

Two arm-locked rebels try to stop the complacent G7 leaders from leaving Cornwall.

Global South Uprising & Pass The Mic

5 - 13 JUNE | Worldwide

Companies founded in G7 countries have wreaked havoc in the global south for centuries. The latest example is Canadian company ReconAfrica destroying the fragile ecosystem of Namibia’s Kavango Basin as it drills for oil. Local activists who highlight and fight this exploitation are routinely threatened with violence.

In the run-up to G7, rebels in the global north were asked to “Pass the Mic” to rebels in the global south and help amplify the messages and demands of activists already bearing the brunt of capitalist extraction and global heating.

XR and FFF Brazil outside their National Petroleum Agency on World Ocean Day, June 8.

For one week, XR groups in the north handed over their social media accounts and media resources to XR groups in the south. At the same time a Global South Uprising was launched to take advantage of this boost in media reach.

50 groups from the global south were paired with groups from the global north, who then posted about their partner’s actions, and liked and shared other groups’ content.

Efforts were made to bring in lesser known voices within the XR organism, and build new bonds between international chapters. The action organisers, XRCOP26, provided financial support and media training to ensure any interested rebels could get involved.

XR Makassar (Indonesia) throws a ‘Mural Party’ on June 5, World Environment Day. Their protest letter to the Canadian Embassy was also worth reading.

There were many highlights; this expressive dance performance by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo; this Sri Lankan rebel’s animation about a sinking container ship (the nation’s ongoing and worst ever environmental disaster); this Waltz of Death explaining how Canadian mining companies have destroyed Mexico’s natural world; this interview with a Senegalese local about how tourism threatens the Saloum islands, and this highly informative bike ride around the G7 embassies of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For even more posts, take a look at XR Global’s instagram and facebook, and XRCOP26’s instagram. Don’t forget to follow some of the XR groups tagged in the posts.

XR Senegal during a tree planting action on World Environment Day, June 5.

Rebels at the Summit: Greenwash vs Truth.

30 MAY | Seoul, South Korea

Rebels try to unfurl their banners. In the struggle many are thrown to the ground by police.

Not all that calls itself green truly is, and the P4G Summit held in the South Korean capital perfectly exemplified this.

P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030) is a glorified investment fund that helps funnel private and public money into green enterprises to deliver the capitalist fantasy of climate action with big profits. South Korea meanwhile was hosting the annual summit to demonstrate its commitment to stronger climate action.

The 1st problem was that the summit guests included some of the worst corporate polluters on the planet. The 2nd was that the Korean government’s record on climate action is abysmal.

It plans to build 7 new coal power plants at home, invest in more in Vietnam and Indonesia, refuses to raise its NDC target, and readily engages in the paradoxical practice of large-scale ‘logging for climate neutrality’.

On the day of their president’s summit speech, Korean rebels organised a more literal take on this gratuitous greenwashing. On the plaza outside the venue, 13 rebels splashed the ground with green paint then attempted to unroll their specially prepared protest banners.

The greenwash summit gets a greenwash entrance. It’s only fair.

With the president nearby, the police had other ideas, confiscating ladders used to make rebel speeches and resorting to unusually aggressive tactics to disband the peaceful protest. Multiple rebels ended up with bruises. The Red Brigade, blocked off by security, could only look on in horror.

Thankfully, help came from nearby citizens and protesting members of the Green Party. They recovered the ladders and restored access to the ‘space of truth’ where rebels could tell their stories and sing popular Korean songs with altered lyrics about rebellion.

While some members of the public refused to take the rebels seriously, and some even accused them of being part of an anti-government conspiracy, many were supportive. A lucky few made it past the police barriers and ascended the ladders where they were able to echo the demand for genuine climate action and speak their truth.

The Red Brigade are blocked off from the rebels by heavy security.


Action Roundup

7 - 10 JUNE | Make The Wave: In the run up to G7 100+ local groups living on coastlines took part in co-ordinated actions. The majority were in the UK, but groups across Europe & Asia were also involved. Below are some highlights. Watch this compilation video for more.

Red Brigade meets the Blue Brigade in Folkestone on the UK’s south coast.

Dutch rebels call on G7 governments to turn the tide on the climate crisis.

Scottish rebels stage how a future G7 might look if promises are all that’s on the menu.

Indonesian rebels highlight how rising seas will leave Jakarta and other cities underwater.

English rebels blockade a “clean gas” power station belonging to RWE. The company claims to be a major player in renewables, but is one of the worst polluters in Europe.

12 JUNE | International Ro1: Brave rebels took to the tarmac in Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany and Italy for another inspiring Rebellion of One wave.

Sign: ‘I am terrified by the collapse in solidarity caused by the Ecological Crisis.’ 45 rebels sat in streets across France. 2 were arrested, 1 got slapped in the face, but many more were supported and even joined by passers by.

Sign: ‘The discomfort I’m creating is nothing compared to the discomfort we’ll experience because of the Climate & Ecological crisis.’ 5 rebels in Turin slowed traffic for hours as Italian police were not legally allowed to remove them. Instead they issued hefty fines totalling over €6000. A crowdfunder is incoming.

4 JUNE | Global: Rebels in South Africa (left), Germany (right), and many more countries gathered outside Canadian Embassies to protest the exploitation and destruction of Namibia’s Kavango Basin by Canadian oil company ReconAfrica.

4 JUNE | Spain: A rally in Madrid calls for Ecocide to become international law. The call has been echoed in rebel actions across Spain.

27 MAY | South Africa: Cape Town rebels clean up outside Standard Bank on the day of its AGM. The dirty bank finances fossil fuels and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline.


22 MAY | UK: Animal Rebellion blockaded all 4 of McDonald’s UK distribution centres, paralysing their supply chain. A whole season of McDonald’s themed actions are lined up - sign up here if you want to get involved.


Upcoming Actions

XR Earth Fast: It’s Now or Never!

28 AUGUST | Global

On 28th August 2021, XR Earth Fast will start in camps around the world.

Rebels will be fasting for different lengths of time - from a couple of days to indefinite fasts until our demands are met - inspired by the Tibetan Hunger Strike camps and the many brave activists through the ages who have used this form of protest for the greater good.

2021 is the most important year in human history. It’s now or never!

For more info and Global registration, visit the XR Earth Fast website.


Announcements

Dignity & Freedom for Palestinians

Relatives mourn a 10 year old girl killed in an Israeli airstrike of Gaza. Photo: Ahmed Abed APA images

XR Muslims and XR Wordsmiths have responded to Israel’s latest violence against Palestinians with statements of solidarity.

XR Muslims’ details the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, while XR Wordsmiths’ condemns Israel’s bombing of Gaza.

Both groups call on the global community to stand in solidarity with Palestinians against displacement and settler colonialism, and reaffirm their right to live in dignity and freedom.

This XR Muslims blog post explains how the Palestinians’ struggle for justice has deep links with XR’s struggle for climate justice.

Calling All Rebel Coders!

The XR Global Support web team is on the lookout for volunteers. If you want to help work on rebellion.global and a host of new tech projects, we'd love to hear from you.

Email us at xr-global-web-recruitment@protonmail.com and tell us why you'd like to join.

On the Brink II: Insectageddon

26 MAY | Online

This star-studded livestream event explores the perils faced by insects, the largest and most diverse group of organisms on Earth.

Featuring contributions from actress Isabella Rossellini, activist Jay Griffiths, nature writer Terry Tempest Williams, and many more scientists, authors, and activists.

This feast of expertise and artistry was organised by Writers Rebel. Watch it now.


Humans of G7: Lautaro Illayux, Columbia

Lautaro during Indigenous Emergency Day, London, August 2020 Photo: Talia Woodin

The founders of XR reached out to me when the movement was just beginning. I was campaigning in London with ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ to demand the British government pay reparations for its colonialist exploitation of Africa and the global south.

Rebels and non-rebels came together to set up the XR Internationalist Solidarity Network and fight for indigenous and global south communities who have been attacked and displaced by imperialism and extraction.

I am Muiscan. The Muisca are an indigenous heritage community in Columbia. I came to G7 to remind the world leaders of the climate debt they owe the global south for polluting our civilisations. And to make them understand that unless they act now, the world’s temperature will rise by 4°C, which will turn most of the global south into desert, including my homeland.

I was part of a small delegation of MAPA (Most Affected People & Areas) who joined the rebellion in Cornwall. On arrival I performed a Muiscan spiritual ceremony, burning tobacco leaves to give thanks to my ancestors.

When our group tried to deliver letters to the G7 leaders the next day, we were blocked by police outside their hotel. These leaders are captured by corporate interest and their summit pledges were not nearly good enough.

My focus is on helping XR UK establish a Global People’s Assembly. Our dream is for it to be up and running by next year, and for it to involve 2000 people from all over the world. People’s Assemblies can get us out of this mess.

If you know (or are) a rebel somewhere in the world with a story to tell, get in touch at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com


Thank you

Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our movement needs money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.

Support the Rebellion


Sobre a Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion é um movimento descentralizado, internacional e politicamente não-partidário que usa a ação direta não-violenta e a desobediência civil para persuadir os governos a agir de forma justa em relação à Emergência Climática e Ecológica. O nosso movimento é feito de pessoas de todos os sectores da sociedade, contribuindo de formas diferentes com o tempo e a energia que podem dedicar. Temos um ramo local muito perto de ti, e adoravamos ter notícias tuas. Participa …or considera fazer uma doação.

Feito com amor e fúria por XR Global Support O Extinction Rebellion (XR) é um movimento de ação coletiva. Todo o nosso design e trabalhos artísticos podem ser usados de forma não comercial, com o objetivo de salvar o planeta. Isto não significa criar merchandising para obtenção de fundos, nem enviar para o XR uma percentagem das vendas. Não criamos merchandising e processaremos quem o fizer. O símbolo do Extinction Rebellion foi desenhado em 2011 pelo artista ESP, que o empresta para uso do XR, com o mesmo pressuposto: www.extinctionsymbol.info