🔥 National Actions Updates

Dear Rebels,

This is the first of what will be a series of Actions Updates in the leadup to March 22.

This is a call out to all of you in Australia that are planning Extinction Rebellion actions in the lead up to March 22 and beyond.

We in the Actions working group have been aiming to facilitate communication between the various actions groups organising to disrupt in the coming months, since facilitating the decision-making process that decided to make major disruption on March 22.

Actions groups in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as local groups in small towns outside the capitals (places like Urabedalla, and Canberra) are in various stages of planning and mobilisation in the leadup to March.

What Is Happening on March 22?

I’ve been hearing variations of this question from across the country. The decision to go into action on March 22 was facilitated over two sessions amongst representatives and members from actions groups in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Newcastle, Hobart, and small towns across the country.

The common purpose driving these people was the need to mobilize and take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion, and the need for a common date around which to take action together across the continent.

The COVID pandemic in the last year has taken it’s toll on XR. It’s impact and the isolation it force on us, combined with cycles of burnout, have left some XR groups in Australia more combat-ready than others.

On the positive side, rebels across the country have pushed on despite adversity, and there are a number of new rebel groups that have been mobilized into action during the pandemic.

This means that the actions around march 22 across the country will be different depending on the group and context.

Actions plans are in development, and volunteers and groups still signing up. My information is also incomplete at this time. That said, here is a taste of the things being planned so far.

Melbourne:

An actions circle consisting of rebels from around a dozen local groups around Melbourne has formed, planning a full week of camping in the Carlton Gardens and assembling a program of disruptive and non-disruptive actions throughout the week.
This will include a welcome to country on day one, bump-in during the day followed by disruptive kick-off actions in the evening.

The Carlton Gardens will be used as a base camp for curious new rebels to join in the week of actions and build a community of rebellion together. To make it possible to organise a full week of actions, different local and affinity groups are planning actions at different times throughout the week, inviting the crowd to join in each one each day.

Adelaide

I need to update my info on this. XR SA have kindly put on the Festival of Civil Disobedience this week, so have been very busy!
I think they’re holding two major actions and a series of smaller affinity group actions during the week.

Hobart

The Hobart rebels have recently impressed with their bank occupations and mass-arrests at roadblocks.

They’re planning a women’s march to emphasize the oversized impact that the climate emergency will have on women. There will be a disruptive action and a non-disruptive action on different days during the week.

Cleverly they are building momentum towards the women’s march with a pub night on international women’s day (March 8th).

Brisbane:

The Brisbane crew are continuing to show off the power of small highly disruptive actions.

Justice and TK locked themselves to some temporary fencing to block the motorway last week:

They followed up with a zombie march and die-in this week.

A bunch of the XR Meanjin crew are headed to Sydney to start disruptive shenanigans there, but the group left behind are developing a mass action on March 22, with a series of smaller disruptive actions through the week.

Sydney

The rural towns of NSW were a major focus for the mobilisers of the XR Australia Mass Mobilisation in the last six months, meaning that there is a bunch of new local groups intending to disrupt Sydney on March 22 along with XR Sydney. More info to come.

Perth

The XR WA crew are planning three days of action with disruptive actions every day.
They’ll also hold a continuous presence in a CBD park for rebels and well-wishers to come down and get involved.

Preparation

With three and a half weeks to go, there is a lot we can do to prepare to build towards March 22 and beyond.

If you are wondering what to do, first get in touch with the actions groups organising disruption in your nearest capital city and see what you can do to get involved. If you have your own local group or affinity group, rally them together and discuss what your group wants to do. Self-organising groups can do a lot to multiply our momentum and disruption.

Have a look at the actions recipes if you’re looking for some basic actions designs.

The Festival of Civil Disobedience

XR South Australia in conjunction with rebels across the country are half-way through the Festival of Civil Disobedience, a week-long program of talks and workshops about all things civil disobedience.

For rebels who need NVDA training, there is an online NVDA training over two consecutive sessions tonight and next thursday. Although it’s not as hands-on as an in-person training, it’s a hell of a lot better than going into action untrained - please share this with rebels that need it.

Action Design Workshop

In the week of March, a diversity of actions throughout the week will add to its disruptiveness. Come along alone or with a group of your fellow rebels to go through a facilitated workshop to put together an action for the week with other rebels across the country!

Paint the Streets

Paint the Streets is a basic action that you can get going in your local group in the leadup to March 22. It is easy to get involved and helps build the trust that you need to have an effective affinity group, while building the profile of your group. To get started, have a look at the Paint the Streets Australia Guide and Autumn Rebellion 2021 Arts Collection and start beautifying your neighbourhood!

What else:

Please let us know about your actions groups - I will be posting out regular national action - focused updates like this over the next few weeks to keep you all up to date.
Please let us know what your actions groups are planning and what you want shared with other actions groups across the country.

Please discuss in this topic, avoiding specific details that might impact the security of your actions or group.

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Pledge Website

The Website team have been working with Pete to get the Pledge Website up and running for the actions of the week of March 22.

For State Actions Organisers of the week of March 22 wanting to get their pledges up on the site, please make an Action Network Event for your action, and then provide the below event info to Pete on signal, or mattermost @mad-mattho. or email mad.mattho@protonmail.com.

He needs:

If anyone needs help with setting up the Event in Action Network, @viola here or on mattermost or viola4earth@protonmail.com, has put her hand up to help. She’s part of the website working group and also Action Network backend team.

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Start with these brilliant videos from @amorph: https://base.ausrebellion.earth/t/action-network-introduction-and-support/3548 :seedling:

Mini Update

There’s another meeting of the Actions working group tonight at 6pm and I’ll make up another full update after that.

March 22 Actions Timetables for Melbourne and Brisbane

XR Vic have shared their Actions Calendar for the week:

XR Meanjin / Queensland have also shown me a calendar of actions for the week of March 22 which includes actions for the 5 days of March 22-27 and a celebratory picnic on saturday the 28th. I’ll confirm whether I can share it here.

Action Design Workshop

Cherry and I ran a pilot participatory action design workshop for rebels in Australia last wednesday - mostly attended by rebels from small regional groups. It was a small and intimate session but I think a very successful pilot.

I’ve written up a report-back and evaluation here

The short summary was that the workshop was a very successful pilot, great for developing action rebels who participated as well as enabling connection and community-building. It would be good to make it a regular occurrence and integrate it into the national Australian training program.

The Pledge

March 22 actions are now up on the pledge site for Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

At time of writing the count of pledgees stands at:

State Pledgees
Victoria 208
Western Australia 145
South Australia 35
Queensland 10
Tasmania 8

More to come soon!

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GAS-LED EXTINCTION: Adelaide Action

Congrats to XR South Australia for their action this morning blocking Flinders Street in peak hour and climbing the awning of the Santos Office.

6 rebels blocked the road out front - 4 glued on, 2 chained to them. They were eventually arrested and charge with loitering.
2 rebels climbed the awnings, let off flares and smoke and spraychalked Santos’ windows and made their corporate logo more honest. They were eventually arrested and charged with being on the premises unlawfully.

Apart from the disrupters there were drummers and a noisy crowd of supportive rebels.

At the time I write this the Facebook live stream has 164 comments on it and has been shared 64 times.

The M&M team for the action reported they were busy all day fielding the media interest.
The rebels were covered across all TV networks including the ABC, the Project, had stories published in major (and minor) news sites including the NewsCorp publications.

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Statement from XR South Australia on Facebook:

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Purpose of Autumn Rebellion

In the last national Actions Working Group meeting on March 10th, I asked actions organisers from Extinction Rebellion Western Australia and XR Meanjin (Brisbane) what they were hoping to achieve with their actions of the week of March 22.

They were grappling with the challenge that they did not feel they had the organising capacity to shut down their cities for a full week. XR WA were planning 3 solid days of disruptive action, and XR Meanjin / Brisbane were planning an action a day for the 5 week-days.

Goals

These are a composite of goals stated by the group:

  • Bond and solidify new local groups
  • Build momentum towards future actions
  • Build the numbers of active participants in XR groups
  • Upskill organisers and groups and learn through practice
    • Try out new ways of doing actions
  • (XR WA) Build a working relationship with SS4C WA for cooperation on future actions.

How did they do? I had a chat with Rob from XR Meanjin on tuesday, and Gerard from XR WA this evening, to get their opinions.

XR Meanjin

Rob said that despite natural disasters washing out the majority of the week’s actions, he felt positive about the process that had gone into organising them.

A collection of Brisbane-based local groups had coalesced as a cooperative force in the preparation for the week of actions, and had become truly action-ready. On top of that, the focus on preparing a week of action together had enabled the local groups to develop cooperation between groups on the collective project.

The actions that were washed out can be re-scheduled to a future date, with mature actions plans ready to go. The group was also intending to carry out one of the scheduled actions, which happened this morning (pictured above). (I’ll be looking forward to the debrief).

The Brisbane local groups will be meeting with a rebel from XR Sydney’s money rebellion to discuss actions targeting banks in the near future.

XR Western Australia

Gerard felt that XR WA had had a good three days of actions. People were needing some rest but were feeling overall very positive about the three days.

The mass-disruption action on monday included a welcome-to-country in the middle of a busy intersection, followed by a die-in and roadblock. 28 people were arrested in this action, sitting in the road. Gerard felt that this action went a long way to bonding and building the many local groups who took part, while also engaging a lot of new rebels.

The group had a home base in the Supreme Court Gardens (though not camping overnight), and used this to launch a series of smaller affinity-group based actions on the tuesday and wednesday (and had a party).

The smaller affinity group actions had a bit of a struggle with harsh police treatment. It seemed the police did not want to make arrests on the tuesday and wednesday actions, so instead were ripping glued-on people off the tarmac and pushing rebels off the roads. Since the actions were relatively small they were somewhat overwhelmed by police force and unable to disrupt for long. On top of this, one of the tuesday actions was assaulted by a white supremacist, although the police took him away. Gerard thought the police and white supremacist violence might have been a bit frightening for new people. The actions groups will be having a bit of a review of tactics to use for small affinity group disruptions.

However, the base in the gardens worked well for making connections between people, the food crew worked really well and the communal meals really helped make a sense of community.

The mainstream media also gave them a huge amount of prime-time coverage which is useful for building momentum and numbers.

There’s a debrief locked in for XR WA on the weekend, and rebels will be having a bit of regen time. Gerard is happy that they didn’t try to push for disruptive action throughout the week, as he was feeling a bit stretched by the end of wednesday.

Overall Gerard thought XR WA had achieved their goals for the days of action.

Wrapping Up - What goals are being achieved?

Over the next few days I hope to check in with rebels in Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney, as well as Melbourne when their week finishes to touch base and find out what their actions organisers have been thinking about the week.

I’m hoping we can do a good quality evaluation of the week, for some organisational learning to improve our strategy and structure into the future.

I’m curious what goals people have had for the week? What benefits do you think have been achieved? What challenges have been run into? What learnings can we take away as a movement?

Please let me know in the replies below.

For your consideration, being able to shut down Australian cities is not very likely. As a goal or strategy it is not really achievable, and really what would it be achieving?

My understanding is that the effectiveness of Non-violent Direct Action campaigns is their ability and/or success in overloading the legal and judicial process and infrastructure.

The Government response becomes similar to what the Covid pandemic planning has been doing, where the aim is to prevent the emergency services and other health infrastructure and services from being overloaded.

Unfortunately, my suggestion is really boring and takes a lot of sustained, long-term, collective commitment. Grow the XR membership, build lots of engagement with other groups and communities, have affinity groups form where those wiling to commit to arrest are supported by those who can’t make that commitment.

Develop support kits on the local legal process and court systems. Start getting people arrested and provide lots of disruptive support at the court hearings. This was key to the US Civil Rights Movement and also the South African Anti-Aparteid Movement.

As Terry Pratchett so eloquently stated -

“The people united, can never be ignited!”

Soo fucn proud of the XR vic rebellion contribution last week. Last weeks Melbourne Rebellion felt different to the first spring rebellion in many ways, and in some ways I think it was more disruptive and therefore more impactful. Autumn Rebellion was much more sophisticated and focused, than Spring Rebellion.( not saying the spring Rebellion was less, just that we’ve grown and matured so well). I felt our relationship with the police last week was better, with very little aggressive tension between the two groups. We achieved our mass disruption, and the police achieved their aims of protecting us and upholding safety. Great outcome all round with no injuries that I know of. I don’t think we compromised our disruptive mission by improving the relationship with the cops, but the cops did try to gain more ground on controlling XR and that needs resisted, and kept a close eye on by us. Creativity to the individual actions ramped up this Rebellion, and added greatly to the fun and hopefully recruitment. I think $$$ should be spent on building a short film of last weeks Rebellion. A film is our best opportunity to inspire mass enrolment, and exert maximum value out of the work put in by all. The media involvement was interesting and different. Thankfully 7&9 news media ran major coverage of the rebellion, with ABC&SBS no where to be seen. This also adds to the need for a short film. Live streaming this year was very effective. I couldn’t make it to one of the early morning bike swarms, but watched some of it live stream and built my enthusiasm to get there the next morn. The leadership team did an amazing job Thank you Thank you Thank you. The core 20 leadership group were so in-sync which spread a focus and discipline through the rebellion that gave us our unique power and influence. XR Victoria is leading XR Australia in effective climate awareness, and is up there worldwide, especially now while the world is suffering so badly was Covid. Max effort should be spent on a short film. I have so many people telling me how inspired and grateful they are of the rebellion. Raging Love

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Great to hear such glowing feedback!

Interesting!

I have not myself thought that the overloading of the legal system was a very alarming possibility for the government. What do you think would be so worrying about civil disobedience arrestees overloading the legal system that would cause it to sue for peace?

With your suggestion of focusing on sustained and long-term mobilisation and movement-building sounds good to me, I’m in complete agreement with that!

Next XR Aus Actions WG Meeting: Autumn Rebellion Debrief and Next Steps

Wednesday April 7, 6pm Sydney time.

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5256267275?pwd=eEFid3BKQkswZEZBVXNhNXRZY0Q3UT09

With the actions of the week of March 22 all done and dusted, it’s time to debrief and evaluate, reflect on what we’ve learned, and think about next steps.

The group will be going through some changes into the future in how we organize going into this next cycle of action.

All actions organisers welcome. Let me know below if there’s anything you’d like to add to the agenda.