The following is a copy/paste from an action proposal by Donnachadh McCarthy & Caspar Hughes
of the XR UK Media Tell the Truth Circle, inviting global coordination of actions targeting the media and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
The Great March for Truth & Blockade
Pitch to Action Circle for Theme and Major Action for Spring rebellion.
Global Media Tell the Truth
Murdoch – Our Planet Needs You!!
Daily Mail – Our Planet Needs You!
The Telegraph – Our Planet Needs You!
This bid would like to propose that the major theme for the first week of the Spring 2020 Rebellion to be Global Media Tell the Truth.
XR’s first demand calls on the government and the media to tell the truth on depth of the climate and ecological emergencies and the depth of the civilisational changes needed to have any chance of avoiding total catastrophe.
Despite some improvements since Extinction Rebellion was launched, the media is still badly failing to tell the truth on these emergencies and even worse, devotes a majority of its coverage to promoting and normalising high-carbon lifestyles and corporations, both in its editorial and even more so with its wall to wall advertising.
It is our belief that if we could get the global media and advertising industries behind tackling the dual emergencies, as they got behind the war effort in WW2, then no government or corporation would be able to withstand the positive pressure to take the radical actions necessary to get us to the core vision of Extinction Rebellion of a #ZeroCarbon2025 and a halt to the destruction of biodiversity by 2025.
Thus, we propose that “ Media Tell the Truth” be THE major theme of the first week of the Spring Rebellion.
The core of this media week of action would be the staging of occupations/blockades outside many of the major corporate media headquarters in London, starting on the Thursday of Rebellion Week, and then for these to merge into a massive Great March for Truth on the Saturday.
As in previous rebellions, each of these blockades could be organised by a regional or state XR Group.
We suggest to keep it to just 6 sites:
- Daily Mail / Metro / Evening Standard HQ – Derry Street Kensington
- The BBC HQ, Regent Street
- News International, The Shard, London Bridge
- Daily Express, Lower Thames Street
- The Telegraph, Buckingham Palace Road
- Google HQ
The Great March For Truth
Then on the Saturday morning, all rebels would process from each media blockade site to Murdoch’s News Corp HQ at the Shard for a rally.
At lunchtime – we would then set off on a historic March for Truth to Murdoch’s Print Works in Broxbourne, which prints not only Murdoch’s Sun and Times but also many other national papers for the south of England.
The route is an astonishingly straight line along the A10, an ancient Roman road. It is 22km (13.5 miles) long.
We would then engage in a mass act of civil disobedience, in an echo of Mahatma Gandhi’s Great Salt March and blockade the entrance of the printworks.
This would block almost all national newspapers for the south of England from being delivered from this plant. The plant has only one exit road leading to the A10, which makes it very vulnerable to a mass blockade.
The disruptive impact of the capital and entire south of the country waking up to almost empty newspaper stands would send a shock through the system, as a wake-up call to the seriousness with which the media needs to take the crises, if humanity and nature as we know it are to survive.
This might also require some high-risk arrestable under-cover operations to ensure the blockade is successful.
We would like the police liaison team to discuss whether it would be best to make the march an officially legal march, so that we could get large numbers to the plant protest, without the police blocking the route.
Even if they did, there are many ways to filter around them.
International “Media Tell the Truth” Spring Rebellion
We suggest that this proposal also be put as a request to the international network of XR national groups, that they consider adopting the theme for the spring international rebellion.
We would especially welcome our sister groups in the US and Australia joining us in simultaneous actions on the 17th/18th of April targeting Murdoch’s Fox News and press empire in the US and his 70% monopoly media empire in Australia.
We suggest Caspar Hughes take the role of Action Co-ordinator.
Internationally, there are about 30 global media corporate leaders who have the potential, if they backed the aims of Extinction Rebellion, who could tip the scales in favour of the urgent global climate and ecological action needed to avert the worst potential catastrophes careering towards us.
The tone would be one of invitation to join us and not angry attacks, whilst acknowledging the deep pain & devastation these corporations have inflicted on many vulnerable people across the globe.
The messaging would be exposing their record but also issuing a clear invitation to join the Rebellion.
Yes, the intent is to Name & Invite, not Name & Shame, staying true to XRs founding values in love for humanity and what is left of nature.
We would call on Murdoch and the other media billionaires that humanity and the living world desperately requires s them to use their immense media power to help stop the destruction, by telling the truth on the emergencies and to stop promoting/advertising fossil fuels and destructive consumerism that is destroying what is left of nature.
The intention would be to give them a positive vision of the amazing legacy they could leave humanity and nature, if they only joined the rebellion.
The large majority of Murdoch’s and other UK national papers for the south of the UK are printed at Broxbourne Printworks, Waltham Cross. The plant is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp.
This is THE largest printworks in the world. Printing over 1.3 billion newspapers annually.
Papers printed here include The Times, The Express, The Evening Standard, The Metro, The Telegraph, The Express, The Daily Mai & the Financial Times,
A 12-hour blockade of the site would dramatically result in empty newsstands across London and southern England. A recce of the site indicates that it has only one road leading from the huge plant. The blockade would need to run from 11pm to 11 am the next day.
Alternatively, having set up the blockade, XR could consider running it continuously for three days.
This would entail setting up an XR encampment, along the lines that we did at Vauxhall Gardens in the vicinity of the print-works.
There is a public park (Cedars Park) nearby that might serve as a safe space as Vauxhall Gardens did in October rebellion.
There is also Theobalds Park camping and caravan site nearby.
The action would need a full plethora of arrest delaying tactics from lock-ons, vehicle lock-ons, tripods, glue and concrete.
There are 4 options for blockading the print-works depending on the level of police interventions:
Plan A: Blockade the actual single gateway to the printworks at the cul-de-sac ending of Great Eastern Road.
Plan B: Blockade the nearby roundabout on Great Eastern Road.
Plan C: Blockade entrance to Great Eastern Road.
Plan D: Blockade the two adjacent roundabouts on the A10 that would allow trucks from the printworks to enter wider road networks.
Rebels across the country could be invited to do actions at local corporate newsagents / supermarkets (not local shops) by filling up the empty newspaper shelves with special edition copies of The Hourglass etc.
Following the Action, local and regional groups could stage similar actions at their local media offices, demanding that they too join the Rebellion and sign up to our Media Demands.
Lock-on Vehicles etc
Lock on equipment
“Murdoch Your Planet Needs You” “Media Tell the Truth” etc Banners.
Budget for extra copies of The Hourglass
We already have 100 poncho’s and 100 foil blankets
Human Resources Needed
Media / Messaging Team
Logistics people – for bringing banners/flags etc
Supporters – for moral support / visuals at the site
The road in front of the printworks single entrance/exit is publicly owned.
Caspar Hughes took some legal advice prior to similar smaller proposed action at Broxbourne, which was postponed, during the Autumn Rebellion.
Main legal charges are likely to be obstruction of the highway.
Also potentially obstructing the workplace.
But there may be some limited danger of a civil prosecution for losses, which are likely to be in the millions for lost advertising and sales revenues over one to three days. So, some further legal advice is advisable.
It may be that if permission is sought for the March for Truth that the police may have no legal reasons to ban the march?
Media Tell the Truth Demands
Extinction Rebellion have in previous Media Tell the Truth protests sent letters to some newspaper editors requesting a meeting. We suggest we retain these demands for the UK and global media targeted by this action.
Our demands included:
Formally declare a climate / ecological emergency, support a zero carbon & zero damage to nature targets for 2025 and a national citizens assembly to determine fairest way to do this.
Ban adverts that market high-carbon lifestyles / corporations, e.g. from aviation, motoring, fossil-fuel companies, meat or financial institutions who fund fossil-fuel exploration.
Create specific dedicated climate / ecological emergency columns /sections/programming.
Provide climate/ecological awareness training/debate/ brain-storming for all reporters, sub-editors and editors, whether they are in the news, finance, travel, energy departments etc
Editorially create positive social permission for ultra-low carbon lifestyles as the new expected norm in society, rather than the current messaging that high-carbon lifestyles / organisations are normal.
Provide the social permission for the reduction of unnecessary consumerism in all its forms, whether in goods, food, transport, water or energy etc. and actively remove social permission for wasteful consumerism.
Commit to being zero carbon themselves by 2025.
Sign up to a 100% green electricity tariff as soon as current contract expires.
Commit to work with other local, national and global media to build the fourth pillar of the climate /ecological emergency movement. (The other pillars are civil society, business and government.)
Murdoch: World’s most powerful opponent of climate action
The Broxbourne print-works, whilst it publishes newspapers for a range of national press corporations, is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is one of the most powerful media corporations in the world and editorially it has successfully help block the required depth of climate and ecological action in the US, UK and Australia and so helped stymie global action.
In the US, Murdoch’s Fox News and Wall Street Journal turned a Republican Party prepared to use market forces to tackle the climate emergency, into one where it is almost impossible for any Republican to support action on climate. This led to the Republican Trump administration not only withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord but waging war on climate science and action in the US and in key international fora around the world.
In Australia, Murdoch’s papers have repeatedly toppled almost every Australian prime minister from both centre right and centre left parties who dared to take any action on climate over the last ten years. During the current wildfires’ catastrophe, the Murdoch press are still promoting coal and blaming Greens for the fires!
In the UK, Murdoch’s Sun has continuing campaigns backing fracking & for the reduction of taxes on fossil fuels. A swathe of the UK’s top scientists wrote formally to Murdoch’s Times complaining about the amount of non science-based climate-sceptic reporting in the paper.
Paper written by Donnachadh McCarthy & Caspar Hughes
Members XR UK Media Tell the Truth Circle