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This year Pre-COP was held in Milan, and rebels from all over Italy converged on the city to denounce the decades of failure that the COP process represents. You can read about the five days of non-stop Pre-COP rebellion in Action Highlights.
Police look on as rebels scale the gates of the Pre-COP conference in Milan, Italy.
Milan wasn’t the only city to catch the rebellion wave this month. Zürich, New York and Bogotá also saw their streets swell with loving rage, and all are featured in this issue.
COP26 is now just a matter of days away, and whether you want to rebel at the conference in Glasgow, take part in a solidarity action elsewhere, or donate funds to support the rebellion of others, this month’s Must Reads has all the links you need.
With so much global rebellion planned over the two weeks of COP26, and the wave of national rebellions still surging (check out Upcoming Actions), the Global Newsletter team are planning two issues over November to contain it all. We can’t promise you political progress, but we will provide you with a double helping of pulse-racing protest.
At the Youth4Climate conference, Greta Thunberg delivered another brilliantly blunt speech to world leaders, castigating them for “30 years of blah, blah, blah.” All signs point towards COP26 being more blah, blah, blah.
The coming COP rebellion will play a vital role in helping people realise that the summit process is broken, that their faith is better placed in Citizens’ Assemblies, and that the inaction of our politicians is nothing less than a Crime Against Humanity.
COP may be the biggest gig of the year, but we’re all sick of hearing blah blah blah.
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.
Ostrich Policy at Pre-COP
29 SEP – 3 OCT | Milan, Italy
An ostrich, burying its head in the sand. This was the symbol chosen by rebels in Milan to represent twenty-six years of political denial in the face of the climate emergency.
In the final set of ministerial meetings before COP26, representatives from over 40 governments gathered in Milan to prepare for the summit. But the Pre-COP talks were held behind closed doors; hidden in a convention centre away from the eyes and ears of the public.
Flanked by a giant ostrich, rebels forced local traffic to a halt, pounded on the convention’s gates, and stained the ground with pools of fake blood.
Rebels and a giant ostrich assemble outside the gates of the Milan Convention Centre. Sign: Ostriches hide the truth so the economic system doesn’t have to change.
The Pre-COP rebellion began with an epic three-day journey. A caravan of rebels cycled the 200km from Turin to Milan, flags rippling in the wind. They descended on the city with hundreds of others, determined to open those convention doors and make the politicians inside listen.
But first they hit the Italian media with a shot of reality. Rebels peacefully occupied the entrance halls of the country’s most influential newspapers, TV, and radio stations for a full three hours. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, they held signs that read “The climate has already changed,” and “Help us tell the story.”
Some newsrooms showed interest and support for the rebels’ messages. Others buried their heads in the sand, closing their foyers to prevent the public from seeing the actions and ordering security to drag rebels from the buildings.
Rebels assemble outside the headquarters of Radiotelevision Italiana (Rai), one of Italy’s biggest broadcasters, to echo the IPCC’s warning of a code red for humanity.
Rebels also sowed seeds of hope. Gathering outside the locked gates of the Convention Centre, they planted flowers to attract pollinating insects and threw paper planes through the bars. Calls for a citizens’ assembly were written on their wings.
Others sent themselves into the skies, scaling traffic lights to hang a giant banner across a major road outside Milan’s central station, as well as outside the gates of the conference. Firefighters were called to drag the rebel climbers back down to Earth, and police broke their promise not to arrest them if the remaining roadblocks were dismantled.
Rebels find themselves surrounded by riot police on the final day of Pre-COP.
Security services responded with increasing force to the peaceful protests. On the final day of Pre-COP, a group of rebels blocking traffic were dragged from the street and then penned in by riot police to stop them returning. Other climate activists and even passing Members of the European Parliament stood with the rebels in solidarity.
Police also issued thousands of euros’ worth of fines over the five days of rebellion. You can help pay off those rebel fines and legal fees by donating to this crowdfunder.
Heavy Policing Can’t Crush Swiss Spirit
3 – 8 OCT | Zürich, Switzerland
It started with a very large die-in. 250 rebels lifted an inflatable planet to the sky before falling to the stone floor of Zürich’s main train station during rush hour. Commuters looked on as Red Rebels moved mournfully between the bodies.
Even more rebels joined the blockade of one of Zürich’s busiest roads the next morning. Around 300 sat on the tarmac, gave out fliers, and brought the city centre to a standstill.
Rebel organisers had been careful to let police know of their plans, but the reaction was still severe with 134 arrests. It didn’t stop rebels returning to the same spot the next day. This time another 50 rebels were detained overnight.
Police became increasingly allergic to rebels as the rebellion progressed. Two people were banned from entering the city for a day just for wearing the XR symbol (following a city-wide ban on the icon). And arrests weren’t just prolific – they were speedy. 15 rebels were arrested within 90 seconds just for walking onto a road holding banners.
The wide age range of rebels helped XR appear more respectable to the Swiss press.
The sign: ‘Arrested because I’m afraid’
With a seriously depleted pool of rebels, exhausted coordinators decided to wrap up the rebellion one day early. But that’s not to say spirits were low. This rebellion was the first national action XR Switzerland had organised, and the media reaction was unprecedented.
Coverage spanned 300 newspapers and was broadly respectful thanks to the many elderly rebels on the streets, as well as the calm reaction to the indiscriminate mass arrests. Overall, this week of rebellion has left XR Switzerland reinvigorated and determined to launch major actions in other Swiss cities soon.
With the police instantly arresting rebels on the street, a few protesters retreated to the train station and sang songs instead.
Banks Blocked As Rebels Rock
17 SEP | New York, USA
At 8 o’clock on the dot, over 100 rebels launched into perfectly coordinated action, surging into the headquarters of three banks infamous for their vast investments in fossil fuels.
At JPMorgan Chase, outraged security guards could only watch as rebels glued themselves to entry turnstiles. Several trucks then pulled up and more rebels spilled out, climbing onto awnings and erecting a tripod outside the entrance. Somehow a sailboat anchored down outside the other exit. The bank was blocked.
Meanwhile similar things were happening at the Bank of America, with a rebel peppered tripod erected outside and a rock band entertaining passers-by. Further downtown, Citibank’s lawn was occupied by a third group of well drilled rebels armed with a tripod.
Confused police arrived on the scene minutes later only to find the three protest sites perfectly set up. JPMorgan notified their staff that they would not be required at work that day. As one rebel described it afterward, it was almost like Hollywood.
It took police almost six hours to dismantle the rebel constructions, just in time for a midday march to the UN. Concerned by what the rebels might do next, the police pursued them down the avenue.
They found themselves amid an action peaceful enough to be a family event. Rebels percolated through crowds of climate activists, congregated for an ‘Enough Is Enough’ rally, and joined a mass die-in outside the UN headquarters, with half the crowd dressed as water, the other half as fire.
36 rebels were arrested over the day, but the overall reaction was very positive. Many passers-by proclaimed their support for XR, and even some of the police officers quietly commented “I’m with you”.
Climate Coalition Paint The National Park
24 SEPT | Bogotá, Colombia
Colombian rebels took to the streets of their capital in spectacular fashion, painting a magnificent mural and staging a stunning show in the National Park of Bogotá.
Along with a coalition of other environmental protesters, rebels assumed the roles of citizens, activists and capitalists (including former president Alvaro Uribe, accused of land theft and overseeing the extrajudicial execution of thousands of civilians).
A performance was then staged, targeting those responsible for the destruction and displacement of indigenous and rural communities in Colombia, and championing collective action in the struggle to overcome entrenched systems of oppression.
Musical group, Connybri provided a soundtrack to the day as members of the public joined rebels to discuss the lack of political support for the Escazú Agreement, local fracking by oil companies Ecopetrol and ExxonMobil, and the mining induced deforestation of Colombia.
The day of action was a great success and picked up by national media, including the far-reaching El Espectador newspaper. For info on future XR Colombia events check out their Twitter feed.
9 OCT | Uganda A former biology teacher and marathon runner (left) was arrested and held for 2 days while on a 260 km walk across Uganda. His crime? Refusing a police order to sit down (so his body didn’t stiffen up). The walk is to raise awareness of the Shea Tree which is vital to the indigenous Camino people and being wiped out for charcoal and firewood.
2 OCT | UK An airport for elite private jets was barricaded by rebels locked on to a stretch limousine to highlight the shocking levels of CO2 that private flights emit per passenger.
29 SEP | Madrid, Spain The last 2 rebels taking part in the Earth Fast campaign (seated) end their fast after an amazing 32 days. They were holding out for a meeting with the government and they got one. Their discussion with the Ecological Transition Minister achieved little, but their fast attracted huge media interest and new recruits for XR’s cause.
26 SEP | Wet’Suwet’En/British Columbia, Canada Indigenous protesters are being violently arrested by Royal Canadian Mounted Police for blockading the construction of a gas pipeline through their sacred lands and rivers.
22 SEP | Pretoria, South Africa Rebels march with other climate activists to the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy. They demanded root-and-branch reform.
22 SEP | London, UK A coalition of climate activists including rebels blockade the Africa E&P fossil fuel conference. Sponsored by Shell & Exxonmobil, the event even nominated ReconAfrica, whose drilling is endangering a UNESCO World Heritage site, for an award.
15 SEP | London, UK Mermaids die outside the Environment Ministry, part of an Ocean Rebellion action to ban bottom trawling, a disgustingly destructive form of industrial fishing.
10 SEP | Italy, Argentina, Israel, Netherlands Rebels all over the world protested outside (and inside) Brazilian embassies to condemn the government’s assault on the Amazon. Watch this video for background on the political battle that will decide the rainforest region’s future.
Must Reads – The COP26 Rebellion
1 – 12 NOV | Glasgow & Global
Whether you’re thinking of joining the rebellion outside COP in Glasgow, of taking part in a solidarity action in your local area, or just want to help fund it all, these links contain all the info you need, rebel.
XR Scotland: COP26 Rebellion HubKey info if you’re coming to Glasgow, including protest themes, a guide to the city, accommodation help, XR Scotland’s Actions Telegram Channel — and crucially — The Rebel Agreement: a five-point code of conduct that all rebels at COP26 must abide by. Rebels protesting in Scotland should also register for free training on Scottish law.
XR Global: COP26 Rebellion HubIf you can’t make it to Glasgow, come here to sign up for more info on COP actions in your area, check a schedule of XRCOP global events, and get news on the global COP26 rebellion. Be sure to join this Global Actions Network Telegram Channel for live updates.
XR UK: XR UK Position On COP26UK-based rebels can find out more about local actions and messaging here. They can also join a UK Rebellion Broadcast Telegram Channel for live updates. Rebels everywhere are also invited to join this Rebellion of One Telegram Channel, and take part in a ‘Rebellion of 11th Hour’ action every day of COP at 11am.
XR COP: CrowdfunderHelp rebels from the Global South attend COP26, help build an XR media hub in Glasgow, and help amplify the voices of those most affected by the climate crisis by donating now.
XR Netherlands Declares Climate Rebellion!
11 – 18 OCT | The Hague, Netherlands
Thousands of rebels will demand that the Dutch government ACTS NOW to make the Netherlands CLIMATE NEUTRAL BY 2025 IN A JUST MANNER.
From October 11 – 15 we will block The Hague, the political heart of the Netherlands, with thousands of rebels and declare a Climate Emergency.
On the weekend of October 16 & 17 we shall join a coalition of other social movements to launch a climate camp where we can explore what a just transition looks like.
On October 18, we will come back together to reflect on our Climate Rebellion and regenerate for future actions.
Now Or Never: XR Spain Declares Rebellion!
18 – 25 OCT | Madrid, Spain
Now or never: in the face of inaction, Rebellion.
We are rebelling in Madrid and these are the important links.
Join this Rebellion Telegram Channel to discuss it all with other rebels.
XR Aotearoa (New Zealand) Spring Rebellion!
23 – 28 OCT | Te Whanganui a Tara / Wellington
Join us in Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington) in the week leading up to COP26 for our Spring Rebellion.
We will draw attention to the intersecting systems of colonisation, capitalism, and patriarchy, and the ways in which these systems create the conditions for the exploitation of the natural world to the detriment of all life on this planet.
We rebel with love and respect for all life. Government incrementalism denies the science and does not heed the warnings of the IPPC.
As If Radio.. Open Call for Sound, Radio & Transmission Works
31 OCT – 12 NOV | Glasgow
As If Radio.. is a collaborative radio space airing throughout COP26.
We invite diverse audio contributions by artists, activists, ecologists, and other sound workers who engage issues of climate and ecological crises in the broadest sense.
Visit us at Civic House, Glasgow G4 9RH throughout COP or email [email@example.com
Learn to Livestream in 45 Minutes for COP26
19 & 26 OCT | Online
We want to ensure that people from across our movement are heard loud and clear during COP26, especially those in the Global South and frontline communities. How can we do this? One word: livestreaming!
Livestreaming is a way of broadcasting your action in real time over the Internet. Anyone can learn how to do it, so long as they have an average-quality smartphone, reliable Internet connection, a Facebook account, and ample data (about 1GB per hour of streamed material). XR livestreams typically receive thousands of views and shares. It means you can say what you want to say and show what you want to show, directly to your audience.
We want YOU to contribute to COPTV: our new channel broadcasting throughout the two weeks of COP26. So learn to livestream in 45 mins with us on Zoom on the following dates
Tue 19 Oct, 19:00 – 19:45 UTC, Zoom Link
Tue 26 Oct, 09:00 – 09:45 UTC, Zoom Link
Letters To The Earth: Make Your Voice Heard Before COP26!
Letters to the Earth are gathering your messages for a better future.
Download letter-writing toolkits to take to your schools and communities. They are filled with creative prompts, nature connection activities, and educational materials.
The campaign will be bringing your messages to life, sharing them with people around the world.
What do you have to say? The post box is open!
Humans of XR:
Mamosweu, Gauteng Province, South Africa
My name is Mamosweu. I am from Gauteng province in South Africa. I do community work with XR Vaal, such as fighting for community rights, running workshops, and hosting marches and pickets. We are very much involved with promoting food security in the community; for example, by helping our community start their own vegetable garden.
For COP we are preparing to march. We will say that we are totally against what is currently happening, as it is going to affect people — especially us. We have a practical example: quarries have been left open and abandoned in our area. They are a threat to our children. Every year some of them fall and drown.
Our people don’t have information about mining. Most of the time an owner comes to the community, promising jobs. It’s very hard for us to convince the few who do get a job to be aware of the dangers mining will bring to their communities. So we need to march for awareness.
From COP, we expect that people must start taking responsibility for their acts. They must consider the ecosystem and nature first, and ask themselves what is going to happen next. We want our government to consider community before doing anything more.
I think if we activists and our communities can push harder, then our government will start listening.
Mamosweu took part in Voices of the Climate Crisis, a series of short talks from people at the frontline of climate breakdown. Watch her video and stay tuned for many more.
If you know (or are) a rebel somewhere in the world with a story to tell, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at email@example.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.
About the Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Our movement is made up of people from all walks of life, contributing in different ways with the time and energy they can spare. Chances are, we have a local branch very close to you, and we would love to hear from you. Get involved …or consider making a donation.