extinction rebellion newsletter guildford 28.09.19: crucial rebellion info
preparing for the international rebellion
Thursday night was XR Guildford's biggest meeting yet. As we approach the largest act of civil disobedience in the UK's modern history people were virtually spilling out of the room - great timing with the International Rebellion just around the corner.
THE REBELLION APPROACHES
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The Rebellion begins in 9 days. Work behind the scenes is frantic. But there are details that just can’t be released. It’s frustrating to feel like you can’t plan properly. What we are doing is scary. We want to know what the plan is to ease our worries. But the nature of the Rebellion means that some info has to be kept on lockdown until late notice.
So please remember that everyone is volunteers, we are all crew, and everyone is doing their absolute best to make the sites safe, beautiful, and fun.
This newsletter is a handy guide to being as prepared as possible for October 7th - at least in a practical sense. In reality nothing can fully prepare us for the nerves we all feel when doing something that goes against everything we've been taught our whole lives - namely not to break the law.
But those of us taking to the street will swallow these fears, because the alternative is sitting at home and doing nothing. It’s watching idly as we allow the hope of future generations to slip away. Watching an emergency unfold and not acting is simply not acceptable to us. We cannot be the generation that knew full well the consequences of doing nothing, and still allowed this catastrophe to continue.
We all feel that fear of taking to the street in Rebellion against governmental failure. When it grips you remember that you’re not alone. Remember that we act out of moral obligation to our only home, our children, and all life on earth.
WHAT TO DO NOW
You might not be fully briefed on the plans for the 7th yet, but here's what you can do right now to get yourself ready!!
LET US KNOW IF YOU’RE COMING!
If you have not replied directly to a text from someone at XR Guildford about what days you are joining the Rebellion, please reply to this email with the dates you can attend. Even a day here and there is great. But we need to know so we can make sure you’re buddied up and looked after. If you are reading this but not from Guildford or the surrounds pls. message your closest local group, or you can join an affinity group (like a small team who look after each other) by emailing
download Telegram & Signal
Telegram and Signal are apps for your phone, like Whatsapp, but more secure. Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, who allow back end access to the police and as such Whatsapp is absolutely insecure for discussing anything XR related. Signal is the most secure, so should be used for all action & arrestability discussion. It's not as user friendly as Telegram, so for less spiky chat Telegram is ok but be conscious what you're saying. Remember it's not just you that can be implicated by lax security, it's everyone in your phone chats.
All official news will be relayed on the Whitehall Broadcast. Once you've downloaded Telegram, open this email on your phone. and then click this link. Anything else you read or hear outside of this broadcast might just be a rumour, so please don’t base any plans on it!
There is an extensive list of things that we still need for the South East site. If you can donate anything on this list please bring it. Here's the list of requirements.
A 'bust card' contains all the information you need if you get arrested in one pocket size leaflet Here is the latest version to download, with updated contact details for solicitors who specialise in protest law. Print it out and keep it on you!
WHAT TO BRING
Bring only what you can carry. Bring only what you won’t be gutted to lose. Bring instruments. We want to be a disposable free Rebellion. Here’s a useful guide to what you might need. Pack sensibly so you can stay longer! The longer the better.
SOUTH EAST SITE
Here is the map of the sites. The South East has chosen Whitehall, and our theme is BEYOND POLITICS. We see the opportunity to deliver a message on what Extinction Rebellion pictures as the path to a better future - true democracy. A regenerative culture. And above all the eradication of social injustice, inequality, and racial division that are intentionally supported by our current political and economic systems.
This will not be a picnic. (ignoring the irony that we will in fact be picnicking for most meals). We must be prepared for the possibility that we may not take the site. And if we do it may be tough to hold. The authorities will try their hardest to prevent us from shining a light on their failings. Rest assured there are contingencies, and whatever happens it will be big, and it will be beautiful.
Here is a messaging document from the South East Media & Messaging team, please familiar yourself, especially if you are designing creative stuff. We'll also be releasing a handy guide to our site, how decisions are made, how to lock down your phone, and how to convey our message to the public, so keep your eyes on the Whitehall Broadcast for that, and for trainings on site.
There are loads of roles that need filling during the Rebellion. Most of them are non-arrestable. These roles are what keeps the Rebellion running smoothly and they’re as important as the people putting themselves on the front line. If you are coming for a few days, and haven’t signed up there's now an amazingly simple way to do so using the XR roles bot. This snazzy bit of tech guides you through the process really, really easily. Open this email on your phone, click the bot link, and sign up to keep the rebellion running.
You do not need to fill out this form to attend! And you don’t need to take on a job either. The most important thing is people on the street. But if you can spare some time to volunteer you will make people’s lives easier, and their personal Rebellions more enjoyable.
There are some roles that we want to make sure are staffed to surplus. These include:
- conflict resolution & de-escalators
- first aiders
And we also need people in the following roles:
- programming (sourcing & scheduling of entertainment)
There is online training for these roles pre-Rebellion. If you can volunteer for one of these roles PLEASE email email@example.com
In April, 1300 rebels took the system to the edge of breaking point. October will be much bigger. Rebels are likely to be sent to stations in the home counties, and Guildford and Woking are on standby. Arrestee support is an absolutely critical role. We support and look after our arrestables as much as possible. Part of this is meeting them when they are released, giving them a hug and a tea, and being a friendly face to remind them how much their sacrifice is appreciated.
If you can't make it up to London, you can play an amazing role in the Rebellion by supporting those released from a local station. There's a stickperson cops & rebels infographic to explain the role. If you can help at any local station please email...
On Thursday we had a lengthy chat about how important it was to maintain our code of non-violence, even in the face of escalation by the police or hostility from the public.
What constitutes violence is hugely debatable. We all come down so far apart on what we think counts as a violent act. As part of a mass ‘movement’ there will always be disagreements over things like this. We must look past these differences to the things that we have in common - namely our objectives. There must always be the understanding that others are acting in the way that they see strategically best.
For the purposes of non-violent direct action we have to draw the line at a certain point of acceptability.Within XR we are never pressured to do anything we are not comfortable with, and as such we can maintain our own standard of non-violence and not participate if we disagree with the measure of the action.
As an absolute base we must agree that any act of physical force on another person is unacceptable and strongly violates XR principles.. Past this we have to remember that our definitions vary greatly, and we must always remember why strategic non-violence is so powerful, and do everything in our power to uphold that principle.
A CRUCIAL REMINDER
We also refreshed our memories over some crucial rules for interacting with the police. When you’re on the street, if you’re ever in doubt about talking to the police, the safest way to avoid getting yourself or someone else into trouble is to say nothing. Either use ‘no comment’, or simply walk away.
Remember, the police are trained to extract information from you. The friendly officers in the blue vests are police liaisons, and are highly effective at polite conversation to gather information. Their body cameras are most likely recording you so just walk away.
If you are arrested it is XR advice to give your name and address when you are booked in at the station. You should also alert the police to any relevant medical or mental health requirements you have, as well as any issues such as claustrophobia.
Please give yourself a refresher on non-violent direct action, you can find the shortened 'street NVDA' training script here.
The 5 rules for keeping yourself and others safe during non-violent direct action can be simplified as this:
When you're on the street:
No comment - if in doubt when a police officer asks you something say no comment or walk away
No personal details - when on the street you are not obliged to give any personal details, including during a stop & search
Under what power - if the police tell you to something they must tell you what law you are breaking. Always ask ‘under what power’.
At the station:
If you are arrested you will be put in a police van, and after a wait you’ll be taken to a station.
No Duty Solicitor - Duty solicitors are not specialists in protest law. Refuse a duty solicitor and call one of the recommended solicitors from your bust card.
No caution - a caution may be tempting as you’ll be released quicker, but it counts as a criminal record! XR strongly advises you do not accept a caution, it will show up on enhanced DBS checks, and it removes any chance of you being found not guilty or being not charged due to procedural error.
BEST PRACTICE IF YOU MAY BE ARRESTED
DO NOT HAVE YOUR PHONE ON YOU - it could incriminate you & others
Have cash for travel on you, as well as a book to read (you may be allowed a book in the cell)
make sure you are carrying a bust card, and have the number of the arrestee support back office and/or your solicitor written on your arm
You can be held maximum of 24 hours, but will most likely be released long before that, probably between 8 - 14 hours.
You can ask for as much tea, coffee, water as you like and will receive 3 meals a day
If you absolutely cannot be arrested do not put yourself in a vulnerable position
THE WEEK AHEAD
Saturday 28th - NVDA - Godalming Unitarian Church Hall. 1.45 - 5.45pm (free)
Saturday 28th - Drumming workshop - Quakers Meeting House - £5 per person donation for hall cover & drum leader’s travel (NOTE: if you have not attended full NVDA and are coming to the Rebellion please choose NVDA over drumming!)
Thursday 3rd - Weekly Meeting - Quakers Meeting House - Last meet up before the Rebellion! (free)
Friday 4th - Freshers Fair - Uni of Surrey - if you are lucky enough to not look too out of place in a student union (say sub 25?) and would like to help on the stall please reply to this email.
Monday 7th - INTERNATIONAL REBELLION - Details to be confirmed. Demands to be stated. System to be overwhelmed until the government stops allowing the destruction of the natural world.
We are at a junction. Down one road lies conflict, famine, and death. Down the other lies a future in which children don't go hungry, people don't die sleeping on the streets, and our fellow human beings in the global south are not fleeing drought and rising sea levels. October may be our last chance to force the changes that are needed to deliver not just a better future, but any future at all for younger generations.
We need everyone. Now. Please, join us on October 7th.
Love & rage