Disruptive NVDA During Coronavirus Pandemic

New Topic from Actions online meeting hosted by Manicmax on18/3/2020

Disruptive NVDA Meeting Minutes

Jess - suggested XR international zoom calls online for ideas on community engagement and tech - find the links to these calls on Mattermost - perhaps info & training channel ?

Jess - affinity group formation: small groups, fun names, education and training around affinity groups - mobilise - Kindness is infectious, share ideas find solutions, Be the change. Interested posters, Arts Vic, make friends, doesn’t think it wise to target specific things right now

Desmonda Lawrence - Jane’s message - not to lose the emergency message - combine with demonstrate how massive change can happen in repose to a climate emergency - it will continue to be an emergency -

Aran - Victoria specific - releasing emissions reduction target next week - visual campaign

National - Distributed action - all local acts same time - asbestos suits - line the roads - with XR flags - sensitive but not much risk of infection - photographers - press releases

This is what an emergency looks like - This is what happens when you don’t act early

Board messaging - digital disruption, target a social media channel

Nick - XR Forests - logging continues - scouting for active coupes - visual impacts - individual scouting - small groups who are socialising

Mischa - digital engagement, videos taking actions, decentralised videoing and photographing actions

Sideshow Mobile - government, watch parties for facebook, take over groups and pages

Samantha Brumpton - centralised funds for creating ads around a narrative nation wide

Jess - Using Humour - dark humour, apocalyptic, light hearted

Keen to see some more action on this front :). phone spam, web spam, socials spam… let’s do it :slight_smile:

Dear all, @SamanthaBrum5 and @ageorge apologies to be so slow to get to this. Please see below the proposal to generate XR Digital Swarms Australia wide during the covid-19 crisis. Feedback and thoughts welcome. If there is an appetite for this we can make a start, identify a target, and select a date in May:

Extinction Rebellion Australia

Digital Swarms

Disruptive climate action strategy during the COVID-19 crisis

[DRAFT – Discussion proposal only]

23 April 2020

This document sets out a framework for mass disruption activities through XR Digital Swarms during the COVID-19 crisis. The framework for an XR Digital Swarm is simple:

At a set date and time, Rebels for across XR Local and Affinity Groups Australia wide will come together to digitally blockade the online platforms of a major organisation or government department making decisions antithetical to action on the climate and ecological crisis.

The rationale for this strategy is that:

  • Public health restrictions and XR regenerative culture principles preclude rebels from undertaking existing XR mass disruption strategies based on physical disruption of everyday life in major cities.
  • Even if physical mass disruption strategies were designed in such a way as to be possible within COVID-19 health restrictions, the pandemic has disrupted ordinary life to such a degree that any additional physical disruption by XR would have limited impact towards the goal of pressuring government to agree to Extinction Rebellion’s Three Demands.
  • We are still facing a planetary crisis. Time has run out to act. The climate and ecological emergency presents us with an existential threat unless governments act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • Governments, organisations and special interest groups will seek to protect emission intensive industries and economies. Once the immediate crisis is over, they will use economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis to scale back and restrict climate mitigation efforts. This must be resisted.

Action Proposal

Rebels from across Australia will collaborate to identify online targets for disruption.

These targets may be companies, governments, or other organisations that are taking decisions antithetical to action on the ecological and climate emergency, or special interest groups that are seeking to use the COVID-19 crisis to advance the interest of emission intensive industries.

Extinction Rebellion will organise targeted digital swarms to disrupt those targets and generate maximum media coverage and public attention on each target to affect policy change.

Each month we will:

Generate a Target and a Case for disruption

Collaboratively workshop a consensus target organisation and generate a compelling case for disruption through Base discussion threads and facilitated Zoom calls.

Select a date

Identify a time and date where Rebels from across Australia will take unified digital action to disrupt a target.

Refine messaging and build media strategies

Communicate those targets to XR media and messaging teams in each state and at a national level. This will allow maximum preparation time to generate extensive media coverage. It will also allow XR messaging teams to refine cases for disruption and convert them into concise, targeted messages.

Invite rebels and issue clear ‘how to’ instructions

Communicate the Digital Swarm date and time. Provide clear instructions for rebels Australia wide to log on and form the Digital Swarm. Instructions will include:

  • Guidelines on the formation of user accounts suitable for digital rebellion.
  • A date and time for all rebels to log on and target an organisation with timezones clearly defined for rebels across states.
  • The specific website, facebook page or other digital platform that rebels will target and any details to access the target.
  • A set of concise messages to enable diverse rebels to speak with a unified voice while encouraging diversity and personalisation.


On the selected date, participating Rebels will swarm the target, spamming the same or a set of varied messages and disrupting any business as usual operation of the target platforms.


Rebels will take screenshots and collect as much data on reactions from other users and from the organisations as they can during the action and send them to media and messaging teams.


State and National XR Media and Messaging teams will monitor targeted platforms and encourage independent media outlets to do the same.

A press release will be issued at the Digital Swarm start time, setting out the compelling case for action.

Recorded XR Digital Swarm actions and reactions will be collecting by Media and Messaging teams and help form post-event press releases later adapted for national, state and local XR newsletters.

Learn and Innovate

The Digital Swarm framework is a starting point for Rebels across Australia to trial, learn from and develop further for maximum impact and to affect change.

Rebels at all levels are invited to adapt this framework through affinity groups and local groups in ways which tailor the targets, digital disruption strategies, timeframes for disruption and methods of raising awareness of actions and tracking the impact of actions. Coordinated distributed actions are highly encouraged. Examples may include XR Local Group coordinated Australia wide or State wide targeting of local councils who have adopted a climate emergency declaration with positive digital swarm messaging, and targeting of local councils who have failed to adopt climate emergency declarations with negative digital swarm messaging.

In line with XR Australia Media and Messaging guidelines and Extinction Rebellion Principles, XR Australia Digital Swarms are also encouraged to design disruptive or supportive strategies that:

  • Resist organisations seeking to maintain ‘business as usual’ or use the Covid-19 crisis to support emission intensive industries
  • Support organisations seeking to use stimulus as a mechanism to transition to a more sustainable economy and crisis responses as an opportunity to build back better
  • Demonstrate Extinction Rebellion regenerative culture through compassion, assistance and solidarity with communities and organisations most affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Adhere to Extinction Rebellion NVDA principles

Rebels will ensure that all our actions, whether digital or physical, align with the principles of Non-Violent Direct Action, that all participating rebels have read and agreed to The Rebel Agreement and are familiar with The How To Guide To Planning Effective NVDA .

Plan only legal actions on open platforms

As a precaution against legal consequences to the servers hosting XR communication platforms such as the Base, please do not use those platforms for planning illegal actions.

Actions are planned and carried out by affinity groups and local groups with the support and coordination of the Actions Circle.

If you are planning an online action that includes arrestable activity or relies on targets not having advance warning of your actions, ensure that you discuss your ideas first with your action circle, use secure communication networks, and allow sufficient time for careful planning.

Prepare for the return of physical disruption
Remind each other that Digital Swarms are a temporary XR response to a Global Public Health Crisis. Prepare for a return to Extinction Rebellion’s core strategy to pressure government to act on the climate and ecological emergency through civil disobedience and physically disruption of major cities.

- - -

About Extinction Rebellion Australia

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international, non-partisan and non-violent movement founded in the United Kingdom in response to the ecological devastation caused by human activities. It draws on the research of climate scientists, the IPCC and the study of non-violent movements of the 20th century to inform its actions. The movement advocates nonviolent mass-participation civil disobedience actions in order to force governments to respond.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Australia is a continuation of the values ​​and demands of the international movement , while taking into account the specificities relating to our local context.
We have three demands (Note: some local groups have developed additional demands):


Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.


Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.


Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.


Anyone who agrees to adhere to our principles and values ​​is welcome.


Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.


Mobilising 3.5% of the population 1 to achieve system change - using ideas such as “Momentum-driven organising 4” to achieve this.


Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.


Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.


Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.


Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.


Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.


We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.


Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.


We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

We particularly insist on:

  • The radical (in the sense that our messaging, goals and actions attack the root causes of ecological and social breakdown)
  • The non-violence (see rebel agreement below)
  • The decentralization and horizontalism of the movement
  • The autonomy of local groups and thematic groups
  • The values ​​included in our statutes which are: compassion, respect for the Earth and the living, authenticity, inclusiveness, mutual respect, fairness and determination.

These values ​​and principles represent the DNA of our movement and find their expression in our regenerative culture . (To understand the importance of regenerative culture for XR, see here 6).

The rebel agreement

All Rebels are asked to follow our basic agreements. They provide a basis for trust so that both Rebels and the public know what we can expect from each other.

  1. We show respect to everyone - to each other, the general public and to the government and police, although we may not feel respect.
  2. We engage in no violence, physical or verbal, and carry no weapons.
  3. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions and do not hide from the legal consequences.
  4. We bring no alcohol or illegal drugs.
  5. We take responsibility for ourselves; we are all crew.
    We are here together until the Government acts on our three demands for necessary action on the climate and ecological emergency. This agreement aims to help us attract the many people we need to make this movement effective.

Any rebel adhering to these principles / values ​​and the rebel agreement is considered to be a member of Extinction Rebellion Australia and can act on our behalf. We recommend getting feedback from other rebels before acting as we are a do-it-together movement.

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The government is signaling that coronavirus restrictions are likely to start relaxing in the next week or so.

Although any changes to the restrictions will likely happen at different times in different states, and social distancing recommendations are likely to remain for much time, it seems likely that we will be able to carry out some basic actions in pairs very soon.

The national cabinet said they would be reviewing the restrictions on May 8th - so we should have a quick review after that and decide how we want to proceed.

Thanks Max,
this is good news.

Dan Andrews is keeping a pretty short leash on Victoria and for good reason given the recent outbreaks here. Here’s hoping that his announcement, May 11?, at least broadens the criteria for being out & about.

And how the second wave slapped us all down… we may have to work out how to do effective disruptive action for years, despite an active pandemic. Targeting actively damaging businesses and governments seems the least-worst approach.

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