As soon as I heard Extinction Rebellion was placed on the extremism watch list, I instantly knew this was a nod towards how much a priority climate change is for the government. Maybe they view it as cataclysmic as we do and they have a plan – to die with their money or invest it in space crafts that jettison to a newly terraformed Mars. Or maybe they’ve bribed space agencies for secrets of access to newly mastered wormholes to other habitable planets in a solid gold ship made of austerity. Whatever it is, it’s wrong.
Although the police report has since been recalled, the damage has been done and right-wing platforms such as ‘Spiked’ have used ER’s inclusion as a point to spit at each other in conversation over brandy and handkerchiefs.
Asking schools to watch for rebellious pupils and/or insinuate that protesting climate change is anti-establishment orientated is a step too far, especially when it is a human obligation to look after our natural surroundings. By government logic, it is now safe and fair to litter than it is to be disgruntled by it. This decision is as stupid as it comes.
It is clear, this move was a pressured jolt from central government to lash forth the smoking drums of dirty energy.
Now is the time, more than ever, to invest in and subscribe to new energy partners whose clean ideas threaten the very nature of what it means to be in the oil business. The fossil fuel industry is not only upheld by government because of the friends it circulates with, it is a backbone of the military-industrial complex and the two go hand in hand, if not, leg to hip.
The inclusion of ER alongside Neo-Nazi and terror groups is a senseless and unashamed peck at the right to campaign, and will no doubt make other groups think twice about their movements. The evidence against ER was flimsy, one that does not suit the tastes of those in power and who like the idea of wearing white wigs and barbaric fox killing with dogs.
If anything is to come of this diabolical oversight, it’s that the right to campaign, protest and diplomatically engage the government in a more formal setting must be put forth and elected. For too long the public has been put at arm’s length, and maybe we should begin to probe how the public can participate in democracy further than just the right to vote.
This attack on environmental campaigning is not just against Extinction Rebellion, but against all environmentalists independent of them. It was a clue as to how serious the government is about tackling climate change.
Oversight or not, it shows we have a long way to go before convincing oil barons and wannabe tycoons of their outdated ideas and backwards ambitions.