“Just block the highways, this tactic doesn’t work” – Corriere.it

“Just block the highways, this tactic doesn’t work” – Corriere.it

The British activists of the radical movement, who were gluing themselves to the highways and airstrips to block them, announced a change of strategy: “Strong gestures are useless: now we will bring 100,000 people to the streets”. But other movements disagree

Yes. I am glued with the face or hands on the asphalt, adding sand to the glue to make it grip better; they blocked highways and airports, smashed windows, that is, carried on a season of “even extreme demonstrative gestures”.

The logic was the same that led other environmental movements, for example, to smear the masterpieces of art
: draw attention in an extreme way to an issue of extreme urgency, namely the environmental question.

Now, however, the British activists of «Extinction Rebellion», among the most radical international environmentalist civil disobedience movementsthey stated that they will change their strategy.

No more forceful gestures: «Very little has changed».

The announcement, on 1 January, appeared in the form of a “resolution for the new year” in a statement on Twitter. Instead of “strong gestures”, a new type of more mass political mobilization. The appointment is for a big demonstration on April 21stin front of the British Parliament, where activists hope to gather 100,000 people.

In recent months, hundreds of activists across Europe have been arrested over mass-impact protests — such as highway blockades — yet, in the statement, the group explains that «these actions have not helped. Emissions (of Co2, ed) continue to increase and the planet is heading towards death at an ever faster pace. With the new year, let’s take the controversial decision to distance ourselves, for the time being, from the interruption of public life (the term used is «public disruption», ed) as the main tactic of protest. We recognize and celebrate its value as a way of raising an alarm, and we believe that the continued evolution of protest tactics is the necessary approach. However, what is most needed now is to undo the abuses of power and the imbalances, to bring about a transition to a more just society that works collectively for end the era of fossil fuels. Our politicians, greedy and swollen with profits, will not deal with it without pressure.’

This ‘turn’ in the best known of the international radical environmental movements is likely to provoke a moment of reflection. But that doesn’t mean that the demonstrative gestures will end: the radical environmental associations that adopt them are various, even just in the United Kingdom — Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain — and no other announcements followed in this sense.

Precisely in these hours, for example, is the vandal attack of the Ultima Generazione movement on the seat of the Senate in Rome, for which five people have been arrested.

And even the individual “cells” of Extinction Rebellion in other countries, which have been “living a life of their own” for years in terms of joining international campaigns, do not necessarily adhere to the “turning point” of the British base. “The fact that a more moderate path was chosen in London at a time when repression is escalating makes me think that it was a tactical-political choice that aims to focus more on the relational aspect”. explains an Italian activist of Extinction Rebellion who calls herself Eos.

“Faced with the constant arrests, you have two options: either you accept that this was what you expected and go ahead with the aggression, or you change your strategy by relying on the community you have built over the years. On the one hand there is non-violent action, on the other the importance of relationship and inclusiveness. The idea is to build a mass movement overcoming the drama of our age, i.e. individualism. So rather than thinking about the loss of activists due to the arrests, I think we wanted to aim to broaden the support of citizens».

January 2, 2023 (change January 2, 2023 | 1:09 pm)

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