By Situation Theatre 24/4/2019
All you have to do to trigger a massive life-or-death shift in the global economic system is ask nicely.
Extinction Rebellion protesters are being very naughty with their ongoing campaign to secure emergency climate action. Their tactics of civil disobedience go against the grain of history, when political change happened because social movements used the tried and true method of having a cuppa and a bicky with the powerful.
According to a non-satirical article in the Guardian called The Extinction Rebels have got their tactics badly wrong. Here’s why,
Their tactics are also likely to push away many potential supporters. Acts of civil disobedience such as occupying bridges, guerrilla gardening and protest puppetry may appeal to seasoned activists, but are a turnoff for thousands of potential supporters who might walk past such occupations. If the rebels want to reach out, they should use social rituals which other groups are familiar with – instead of glueing themselves to DLR trains, they might hold tea parties at local fetes.
Because we all remember MLK’s famously successful campaign of fete-based tea parties. And gosh, how much easier would Gandhi’s 24 day salt march have been if they’d all just marched to the local fair instead?
Know-nothing layabout Greta Thunberg has said “They turn this into a question of what methods the protesters use – truancy and civil disobedience – but it’s not about that. It’s about the fact that we face an existential crisis.”
Violent revolutionary George Monbiot has written that building a transformational social movement is less difficult than you might imagine:
“As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, a maximum of 3.5% of the population needs to mobilise. Humans are ultra-social mammals, constantly if subliminally aware of shifting social currents. Once we perceive that the status quo has changed, we flip suddenly from support for one state of being to support for another. When a committed and vocal 3.5% unites behind the demand for a new system, the social avalanche that follows becomes irresistible.”
Russian state propaganda arm Jacobin has quoted YouGov polling showing while 52% “somewhat oppose” or “strongly oppose” Extinction Rebellion,
“a full 36 per cent “strongly support” or “somewhat support” direct disruptive action. A third of the country backing what amounts to the shutdown of the capital in defiance of the police and many politicians is a huge and unexpected result that few other campaigns have managed to achieve.”
But someone in the The Guardian says you can solve the climate crisis by having a tea party, so probably go with that.