Just Stop Oil – a winning formula?

Watch this video

It is fascinating for many reasons.

  1. The folks interviewed are right about the coming impacts, and if anything underselling the seriousness of our shituation
  2. The jeering of them from spectators is shared by many MANY people more widely.
  3. The comments on the video are disabled (unsurprisingly, but it wouldn’t JUST be bots leaving hate-messages and death-threats)

More broadly, a few points, ones I have already made here “[JSO – anthropologically fascinating, politically terrifying”] and here [about the XR “strategy” tour in February].

Just Stop Oil is – like Insulate Britain before it – an offshoot of the ‘hard-core’ of Extinction Rebellion. Same ideas (such as they are), same mentality.

Part of their rhetoric (paraphrasing from a guy who was busy gluing himself to the frame of a Turner painting at the Manchester Art Gallery) is that “30 years of marches and flying flags outside parliament has not worked.”

This is true. But there have also been other things – Rising Tide, Climate Camp, Reclaim the Power – which XR/JSO kind of ignores. It’s NOT the case that a small band of brave rebels will suddenly “wake everyone up”/destroy the Death Star.

The gluer said words to the effect that “nothing has worked, and therefore this was all that was left to do.” I am not so sure. Or rather, I think other things COULD have worked, if we had had the discipline, courage, foresight, skill to try them, but we didn’t and now what is left but gluing and sitting? IF we could have avoided the smugosphere, ego-foddering, the emotacycle etc, we might have built the broad-based non-zombifiable coalitions that might have done something useful. Might.

And crucially , XR has not “worked” either! I get the emails, and there are endlessly repeated exhortations, and requests that you imagine millions of people being mobilised to take action. Well, the last “rebellion” was tiny. JSO is, I suspect, suffering a fractal version of the same problem, due to burnout, exhaustiono etc: the attempts to blockade infrastructure did not lead to infrastructure being blockaded – you need dozens of people for that. The latest iterations of protest – art galleries, football matches and now Formula One – would suggest that even dozens is now beyond their logistics, and so they’re doing things that need three or four people, versus very limited security.

To all those jeering and sneering (and some will take my criticism as jeering and sneering) I would say this-

maybe think about all that has been tried, and all that didn’t work

maybe accept that most of what passes for pledges and progress is in fact – as per the words of the Environment Agency boss- simply greenwash.

maybe accept that the hate you feel for the protestors is mostly fear/terror about the future and disgust with yourself for not having the (perhaps misplaced?) courage that you see before you. (see also Hypocrite Zealot trap).

Or maybe accept that you are just wallowing in wilful ignorance, and that ignoring a problem doesn’t mean it goes away. Your dream world is just about to end.

Whatever. Just glad I did not breed.

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