1 June 2022News

Oil terminals blockaded as XR promotes door-knocking project

There were a huge number of climate actions in April and May, organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR) and its spin-off, the Just Stop Oil (JSO) coalition.

JSO reported over 965 arrests by 15 April as a result of two weeks of daily blockades of oil terminals and petrol stations all over the country, including in Birmingham, Essex, London and Southampton.

By 4 May, the total had grown to over 1,200 arrests, according to the group.

JSO demands that the government calls a…

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 February 2022News

Blind Paralympian released after 10 weeks and 6 days in jail 

On 14 January, the appeal court cut XR activist James Brown’s sentence to four months. With time off for good behaviour, this meant that he was not returned to prison. He had already served 10 weeks and six days, which was over half his four-month sentence.

James was released from Wandsworth prison on 8 December, on bail, while the appeal court reviewed his conviction and sentence.

James, a blind gold-medal-winning Paralympian, had been given a 12-month sentence at Southwark…

1 February 2022News

Juries find climate campaigners 'not guilty' in two trials 

On 10 December, six climate activists were found ‘not guilty’ by a jury at Inner London crown court of obstructing a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train at Canary Wharf station in East London on 25 April 2019. Five of them were from Christian Climate Action (CCA).

On 14 January, three CCA direct actionists were found ‘not guilty’ by another jury at the same court. They had also stopped a DLR train, this time at Shadwell station, on 17 October 2019. (One of them had also taken part in…

1 October 2021News

Paralympian jailed for airport action

On 24 September, Paralympic gold medallist James Brown, 56, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for an Extinction Rebellion (XR) action at London City Airport during XR’s October 2019 ‘Rebellion’.

This first custodial sentence for an XR action was imposed for the offence of causing ‘a public nuisance’.

Alanna Byrne, of Extinction Rebellion UK, said: ‘We are shocked and devastated by this news.’

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell tweeted: ‘It’s an excessively harsh…

1 October 2021News

Fortnight of protests against fossil fuel investments

At the end of August, the climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) struck a new note, politically, when it began its latest two-week ‘rebellion’ in London. It put a much more achievable demand at the centre of its protests: the UK government must stop all new fossil fuel investment immediately.

The actions mostly focused on disrupting the heart of finance in the UK, the City of London, though there were also occupations of the Science Museum, Oxford Circus, and (in Woking) the…

1 August 2019News

'International rebellion' to take place in October

On 12 July, 29 campaigners from climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) had their first court hearings at City of London magistrates' court. They were facing public order charges arising from XR's 11 days of mass action in London in April.

Two courtrooms have been reserved at Westminster magistrates' court in Marylebone Road to process 50 activists every Friday for 19 weeks.

1,130 arrests were made in April; only 79 people were charged at the time, XR reports.


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 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 2019News

74 charged and counting

An arrest on the first day of XR’s International Rebellion, 15 April, on Waterloo Bridge, London. Photo: Vladimir Morozov / Extinction rebellion

Despite there being over 1,000 arrests during 11 days of Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate actions which shut down much of central London in April, only 74 people seem to have been charged. The police are now threatening all the arrested with prosecutions....

On 23 April, Elliott Cuciurean (20) became the first person to be convicted…

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…

9 May 2019Blog

Extinction Rebellion (XR) deserves praise for the impact it is having in streets, in the media and in public discourse. The XR leadership should also be questioned for its approach to diversity and privilege, to climate justice, and to strategy. (This is part of a series of articles discussing XR.)

Extinction Rebellion (XR) has sprung upon us and is mobilising thousands of people to take direct action demanding radical action on climate change. They’ve filled the streets. Thousands of new people are taking action. Despite this most established environmental activists have reacted with criticism, much of which is justified.


To understand XR, it is important to note that it has a defined leadership.…

1 November 2018Blog

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’ and its plans to ‘bring…