1 February 2023Comment

The current framing of XR's mass protest on 21 April risks setting people up for disappointment and exhaustion, argues Milan Rai

Do I support mobilising large numbers of people to join in the climate protest in Central London taking place on 21 April, organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR)?


Do I think it will have a positive effect on the political debate in Britain and maybe elsewhere?


Do I agree with how XR are describing and explaining this protest?

No. Definitely not.

I think that XR has taken ‘talking big’ to a whole new level that is damaging to their own…

1 April 2022Feature

There are big question marks over Roger Hallam’s latest strategy – and over his climate science claims

Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Insulate Britain co-founder Roger Hallam has been touring the UK recently, recruiting for his latest nonviolent direct action project: Just Stop Oil. Among other things, he’s been telling audiences that we’re looking at experiencing a 7 ºC temperature rise by 2042 (possibly sooner) – and that solving the climate crisis ‘is not complicated’.

These claims deserve examination. Hallam expressed them, for example, in a talk in Hastings on 10 January. (I’m…

1 October 2019Feature

Where XR and the climate movement need to go now

School strikers and supporters march in Manila, the Philippines, on a global day of action, 24 May. Photo: Leo Sabangan II /

The climate movement needs an acceleration of forward steps and more of the urgency of commitment that XR and the climate strikers have been demonstrating.

But urgency and commitment by themselves aren’t enough.

Daniel Hunter tells a powerful story in…

1 August 2019Comment

Seattle teachers end standardised testing 

Examination, 1940, Australia via Wikimedia commons


1) To end mandatory administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test at Garfield High School.
2) To prevent Seattle public school district administrators from disciplining teachers who refused to administer the MAP test.

SURVIVAL: 1 point out of 1
GROWTH: 3 points out of 3
TOTAL: 10 / 10

In the 1970s, public (…

1 August 2019Feature

An extract from Daniel Hunter's Climate Resistance Handbook

This is an edited extract from The Climate Resistance Handbook – or, I was part of a climate action. Now what? written by Daniel Hunter with a foreword by Greta Thunberg. Published by, this 68-page book is being mass distributed in the UK at cost price by Peace News.

I was eight when I won my first campaign for the environment.


1 June 2019Feature

What is XR's plan to save the day and does it make any sense?

XR ‘swarm’ in the City of London, 25 April 2019. Photo: Adam Wiseman / XR

If one core part of XR’s approach has been to try and scare the bejesus out of people (see ‘XR: The dangers of apocalyptic organising’), a second has been its claim that it has a plan – indeed, one grounded in ‘social scientific research’ – that could save the day.

This has two parts: (a) a set of three demands; and (b) a…

1 June 2019Feature

What's the basis for XR's 'magic number'?

XR is fond of citing political scientist Erica Chenoweth’s ‘3.5 percent rule’ (see eg. 'XR: The Plan') – an empirical observation that it ‘only’ takes ‘3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple dictatorships’ [1], based on the analysis of a dataset of over 100 major nonviolent campaigns that took place between 1900 and 2006. [2]

It should be noted that:

(A) the dataset only considered ‘…

1 June 2019Comment

Recent elections in Australia and Spain hold lessons for UK campaigners, argues Milan Rai

Climate strikers in Melbourne in March 2019. Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Why should campaigners of any kind in Britain care about the May elections in Australia? Well, because there’s an important lesson for all activists in the defeat of the Labour party there, which had an ambitious climate agenda, and which everyone expected to win. These results showed again the…

1 June 2019Feature

Extinction Rebellion's impact has been positive, but its current strategy is doomed to fail

Extinction Rebellion occupation, Waterloo Bridge, London, 15 April 2019. Photo: Mark Hart / XR

Over the past nine months, Extinction Rebellion (XR) has played a significant role in helping to push climate change way up the UK’s political agenda. For its boldness of vision, its commitment to nonviolence, its desire (and ability) to get large numbers of new people involved, its chutzpah and creativity, and for the sheer hard work that many of its activists have put into the cause, it…

1 June 2019Feature

Crying wolf about a near-term global apocalypse makes for bad strategy, argues Gabriel Carlyle

It would be difficult to exaggerate the scale of our current ecological crisis. But not impossible.

In XR’s April 2019 video, ‘Act as if the Truth is Real’, actor and XR spokesperson Sam Knights says: ‘we're not alarmist and we don't exaggerate’. [1] Yet, from the beginning, some of XR’s most prominent spokespeople have done just that.

In his 61-page booklet, Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse…

1 February 2019Comment

We need to break the huge visions that we have into smaller, winnable struggles, argues PN editor Milan Rai

There is a farmworkers union in Oregon in the US called Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN). The union campaigned for a year to get Kraemer Farms to be the first growers in the area to accept collective bargaining.

After that failed, PCUN got student groups to put pressure on NORPAC, which purchased vegetables from Kraemer Farms.

After seven years of failure, PCUN changed focus again. They chose to pressure the veggie burger firm, Gardenburger,…

1 December 2018Feature

Activists need to go on the offensive argues veteran campaigner George Lakey

Women’s March, 21 January 2017, San Diego, USA. Photo: Bonzo McGrue (CC BY 2.0)

Protests are well known, and popular. The trouble is, when I look back on the one-off protests I’ve joined over the years, I don’t remember a single one that changed the policy we were protesting against.

In February 2003, I joined millions of others around the world on the eve of US/British war on Iraq. The BBC estimated that a million protested on 15 February in London alone. In the US,…

1 December 2018Feature

A PN staffer comments on the new climate direct action campaign

Photo: Lucy Cartwright

This essay was written on 1 November, before the bridges actions on 17 November that we report on p5.

If Extinction Rebellion plans to gradually build capacity for its big demands by winning smaller-scale victories then why has it launched itself with (apparently) no indication as to what these smaller-scale wins are going to be?

Lots of people seem to be very excited about Extinction Rebellion (XR)’s ‘declaration of rebellion’…

1 December 2018Feature

XR responds to criticisms around goals

Mass sit-down by Extinction Rebellion on Blackfriars Bridge, central London, 17 November 2018. Photo: Lucy Cartwright via Extinction Rebellion

These are questions and answers taken from the XR FAQs (frequently asked questions) section. Some of them are responses to Gabriel’s
1 November criticisms.

Q: ‘Some…

1 December 2018Feature

Extinction Rebellion's 'strategy' can't work but there are alternatives, argues Gabriel Carlyle

Brylie Oxley [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Several people responded to my original piece, in which I raised doubts about Extinction Rebellion (XR), suggesting that I was proposing ‘inaction’ as the alternative to joining XR.…