Roger Hallam, a co-founder of XR UK, has recently made allegations against Global Support and our work, and threatens to embark on a hunger strike in protest. Here are some clarifications on Global Support, our purpose, and our past history with Roger:
Global Support does not claim to speak on behalf of the whole XR movement. As stated on the global XR website, GS facilitates the flow of information and resources between groups, offering trainings, funding, and communications support to the movement. Roger says that Global Support claims to speak for the global movement, but it has always been explicitly stated that we are not a "headquarters" or global decision-making body for the whole movement — we do not create movement strategy, or determine XR's Demands or Principles & Values, for example. Nowhere in our Statement of Separation does it say that.
Many current and past members of Global Support have met with Roger over the past two years. Roger says he has no idea who is in our group, and that he has never met us, but in truth he has engaged with many members of Global Support — from video calls with GS working groups and physical meetings, to maintaining relationships with current and past Global Support rebels — all while fully knowing they were part of Global Support.
Global Support has never forbidden local groups from interacting with anyone, and it never will. Roger says that groups have been "forbidden from interacting" with him, but not only have we never issued such a ban, it is not within our authority to do so. We affirm every XR group's right to decide whom they engage and interact with.
- If a group has felt banned from interacting with Roger due to our statement, then we would like to reassert that our statement does not prohibit groups from interacting with Roger. It reflects only the sentiments of the Global Support body and does not apply to any other XR body.
Roger makes the claim we described him as anti-semitic in our Statement of Separation, and yet nowhere in that document is this written. Further, at no point has Global Support ever stated this. In the spirit of Tell the Truth, we ask that readers stick to the facts and remain vigilant against acts of gaslighting and misinformation.
We also want to offer clarifications around Roger's past actions in response to his statement against Global Support:
- Roger was recorded and cited on several occasions throughout 2020 joking that we might start shooting climate polluters "in the head". Roger claims to have never made such jokes, but here is an audio recording of him saying that in an interview, which represents a serious violation of our commitment to nonviolence as a movement (as stated in our Principles & Values).
- Roger's comments on the Holocaust resulted in broad harm to XR, from a significant loss of membership and public faith in the movement, to the separation of XR Germany from Roger and denouncements from branches worldwide (including XR UK). Roger says it was never his intention to create a scandal, but in the cryptographically-verified email from Roger to M&M Teams, then leaked by a rebel in XR Germany M&M, Roger expresses he had the full intention to create a scandal, expected the German M&M team to follow his media script after his premeditated comments got published, and planned to create another “moral outrage” in the next speaking event, reflecting manipulative behaviour that has no place among our Principles and Values.
Roger has created conflicts and controversies, resulting in — among other things — XR Germany, XR Switzerland, and large numbers of XR groups and rebels in Latin America disassociating from him. These developments did not just play out publicly — Roger also engaged in private mediated discussions with some of these groups, during which he did not offer any meaningful steps toward reconciliation. Roger may publicly state a desire for open, honest mediation, but he has a track record of further exacerbating conflicts, rather than working to resolve them.
We are frankly bewildered to hear that Roger plans to embark on a hunger strike in protest of our actions. Hunger strikes are a time-honored, dangerous, and extreme form of civil disobedience, used by Gandhi in his campaign against the British rule of India, UK Suffragettes fighting for the right to vote for women, anti-nuclear weapons campaigners, and others fighting for worthy causes of justice. Roger's plan to hunger strike over a perceived personal affront appropriates and threatens to delegitimatise this honorable tradition. This over-reaction only reinforces our concerns related to Roger's intentions, motives, and ability to work through conflicts regeneratively and without manipulation and toxicity. As a result, we do not feel sufficient trust to enter into a mediated discussion with him.
Just as many other groups have distanced from Roger — including XR Germany, XR Switzerland, and XR UK — Global Support chose to exercise its basic right to freedom of association, one we all assert as individuals as we go about our lives. But Global Support is also committed to openness and transparency: we are only "faceless," to use Roger's word, in the sense that we are not a collection of public personalities. Rather, we are a hard working and self-organised entity of around 170 volunteers from all over the world, diverse in race, gender, and background, working tirelessy to fight the Climate and Ecological Emergency. In the course of this work, we meet with rebels daily, all over the world, in video calls, chat and - where possible - in person.
However, we recognize this distracting faux-crisis has shown us that we do need to do a better job of telling the XR movement our story. Rebels around the world use tech and media platforms and services, attend trainings, and receive grant funding, often without always being aware that GS is providing these services, or how we are structured and our ways of working. We pledge to do better at this, starting with opening more channels for feedback from XR groups about their needs, and integrating the learnings.
Global Support was created to help a beautiful, vast and decentralised movement thrive - a movement in service to the Planet, not would-be 'figureheads' or public personalities. This is where our energy must be spent, with not a minute to waste. We greatly look forward to putting this behind us, such that we can continue to dedicate all our energy where it counts: supporting the Rebels of the world!
Love and Rage,
Your friends at Global Support
January 23, 2021