Children move through the flooded plains of southern Pakistan. Photo: Stimson Center
In this issue: Swedish Uprising | Hamburg Gas Blockade | Pakistan Is Our Story |
The spring brought the people of Pakistan an extreme heatwave. The summer has brought them devastating floods. Thousands have died, half a million have been displaced, and nearly half the country’s crops have washed away, causing vegetable prices to spike by 500%. Now the country faces a food crisis as well as more rain.
Relentless extreme weather and high food prices have also displaced hundreds of thousands in Somalia. The UN has stated unequivocally that “famine is at the door” after the unprecedented failure of four rainy seasons. The death toll could be worse than in 2010, when over a quarter of a million starved to death, half of them children.
Today, millions are living through a hellscape of unending extreme weather, and on a planet that has ‘only’ warmed 1.2 °C. How many millions more must join them? In Indonesia, the recent G20 climate talks ended in stalemate, with previously agreed references to limiting warming to 1.5 °C now being rejected by China, among others.
Pakistan solidarity actions were launched by a global coalition of activists, including rebels. Find out more in Action Roundup. This one was by APMDD in the Philippines.
Yet China is suffering its own unprecedented summer, with an extreme drought putting its autumn harvest under “severe threat”. Meanwhile, new research indicates that exceeding 1.5 °C of warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points.
Once again, the case for rebellion is resoundingly made. So you’ll be pleased to know that brave and brilliant rebellion is what you’ll find below. In Action Highlights we show how rebels in Sweden braved arrest, detainment, and even deportation while making climate change an issue in their national elections.
We also report on how German rebels used a concrete bathtub to help Ende Geländeblockade a major oil and gas port in Hamburg. Sadly, there was a brutal police response there as well. And don’t miss this month’s Humans of XR, an inspiring interview with a relentless rebel and Debt For Climate activist in South Africa.
German police used water cannon, mace, batons, punches, and kicks to break up a peaceful blockade of Hamburg’s port.
This month we also expected to bring you news of rebellion in London. But after the death of the British Queen, and the ensuing ten days of national mourning, XR UK made the difficult decision to postpone its Festival of Resistance.
Plans are already underway for a Weekend of Resistance in mid-October, details of which are in Upcoming Actions. With the world in such a perilous and grossly unjust state, there can be no rest for the rebellious.
The Global Newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who provide grants, training, and technology to help our movement grow. We need money to continue this crucial work. Anything you can give is appreciated.
Upcoming Actions – Berlin Rebellion, London Weekend Rebellion, Debt 4 Climate.
Announcements – Join Global Support.
Must Reads – Tipping Points, XR Global Blog, Britain’s War for Rubber.
Humans of XR – Sunny, South Africa
State Repression Can’t Stop Swedish Rebellion!
16 – 22 AUG | Stockholm, Sweden
A rebel is led away during a protest highlighting cyclist deaths in Sweden’s capital.
In the weeks leading up to Sweden’s general election, rebels took to the streets of Stockholm and beyond, to ensure that the climate emergency was not ignored by their campaigning politicians. The police took unprecedented steps to stop them.
The road blockades culminated with the blocking of a major highway out of Stockholm, which also involved Finnish rebels and German activists from Letzte Generation. The police not only arrested activists this time, but also journalists, forcing one to strip nakedin his cell.
Clockwise from top left: XR rebels blocking a major road in Stockholm; rebels invite themselves into a Volvo showroom; the ‘Rebellmammorna’ occupy the city centre; rebels being pulled off the road by police.
Days later, six Finnish activists were arrested by Swedish border police while travelling to an action at a concrete factory on Gotland Island. One man was detained for four daysbefore being deported. He is banned from entering Sweden for two years.
This rebellion marks the first time a climate activist has been arrested in Sweden, let alone deported. XR Sweden is frightened not just by the startling increase in state repression, but by the muted response to it in Swedish society at large.
Despite the excessive policing and unjust detentions, Swedish rebels and their allies ensured rebellion continued. Trade was brought to a halt at a Volvo showroom to protest ballooning SUV sales. Cyclists staged a die-in outside the Swedish Transport Authority to highlight the cyclist deaths caused by limited cycle routes and rampant car use.
And a new XR group sprang up: Rebellmammorna (Rebel Mothers). Dozens of mothers sat down in the centre of Stockholm to express their rage and fear for their children’s futures, and the lives of all children across the globe.
Rebels block a bridge with a bathtub during a mass-blockade of Germany’s biggest port.
German rebels joined forces with Ende Gelände (meaning ‘Here and No Further’) for several days of action in Hamburg, culminating in a blockade of the city’s port, a major fossil fuel transit point.
With temperatures soaring above 30 degrees, around thirty rebels blocked Koehlbrand bridge, a key access route to the port, dragging an upturned bathtub filled with concrete from a van before locking their arms within it. It took police about four hours to pull them free.
Meanwhile, about two thousand Ende Gelände activists and affiliates blocked other rail and road connections to the port. The police response was violent: protesters were assaulted with water cannons, mace and tear gas, as well as with physical brutality. Several activists had to be treated in hospital as a result of the violence. The port was disrupted for a total of nine hours.
Police fire water cannons at Ende Gelände activists as they block a bridge into the Port of Hamburg. The umbrellas were brought as protection from the scorching sun.
Other actions in the campaign included city marches, the disruption of a gas pipeline construction sites, and the blockade of a gas-guzzling fertiliser plant. Between actions, Ende Gelände’s grand coalition of activists came together for a week-long climate camp offering training and workshops on anti-colonialism, post-capitalism, and climate justice.
Ende Gelände is at the forefront of Germany’s climate movements. Founded in 2015, their focus is on an immediate phasing-out of fossil fuels, with a recent shift in focus from lignite coal to liquified natural gas (LNG). Instead of using public spaces as a platform for civil disobedience, they directly target sites of extractivism.
The war in Ukraine has caused an increased reliance on fossil fuels across Europe, with Germany now using coal for nearly a third of its energy. The German government recently announced its plans to build several new LNG terminals, which would lock the country into decades more of dependence on fossil fuels.
9 SEP | Worldwide: Thousands of activists, including rebels, across 15 countries took to the streets in solidarity with the people of Pakistan. The action was organised by This Is Our Story, a new group specialising in rapid solidarity actions after climate disasters. Top left to bottom right: Tokyo, Nuremberg, Istanbul, Rutshuru DRC.
2 – 4 SEP | Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Forty rebels disrupted the festivities of World Port Days. One fifth of Dutch carbon emissions are produced by Rotterdam, 88% of them by its port, the largest seaport in Europe and the largest outside East Asia.
3 SEP | Kyavinyonge, Democratic Republic of Congo: Rebels from the University of Goma were at the town of Kyavinyonge on the shores of Lake Edward to raise public awareness of the harmful impacts of oil exploitation on the Virunga National Park.
21 AUG | Krakow, Poland: Rebels joined a silent march along the river Vistula to protest the ecological catastrophe that occurred to the river Oder. Over 200 tonnes of dead fish have been recovered from its waters. The official cause is still unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of toxic spillage and low oxygen due to the heatwaves and droughts.
11 AUG | Toulouse, France: Activists from the Kirikou Collective (which includes rebels) are demanding that France’s golf courses stop monopolising water during times of extreme drought. They cemented up holes and damaged greens to denounce the way the elite leisure industry continues to be given special status.
21JUNE | Barcelona, Spain: Around 50 rebels blockaded and occupied the headquarters of Santander – the Spanish bank that invests the most in the fossil fuel industry. The protest ended peacefully, but some rebels were identified by police and could be fined.
So many rebel actions happened this month, we can’t fit them all into one newsletter. Head on over to Newsletter XTRA to find out about actions in Peru, Israel, Australia, USA& more. Newsletter XTRA: A feast for the eyes and extra fuel for the soul!
We will meet at 10am on Saturday 17th September, at Invalidenpark for the opening of the Herbst (Autumn) Rebellion.
ACTIONS – With three big actions, we will massively disrupt the everyday life of the powerful in the heart of German politics! All actions are barrier-free and open to all action levels. We rebel colourfully, creatively, peacefully and non-violently. Action trainings and affinity-group-findings will take place so that everyone can find their place.
CAMP – Starting Friday September 16th, you can camp in the Invalidenpark right next to the Ministry of Economics near the central station. There will be trainings, workshops and exchange. We want to learn from each other and celebrate together.
ARRIVAL – Most will arrive on Friday 16th and leave on Wednesday 21st. However, it is also worth joining in between.
ROLES – People are still needed everywhere. Whether for cooking, organizing or painting signs. Find out more.
Not tech-minded? No problem – roles are available to suit a range of skills! Find a role that would suit you by filling out this volunteer registration form.
Photo: Markus Spiske
This month we’ve got the new research paper showing how exceeding 1.5 °C could spell climate meltdown, an investigation into whether personal change is necessary to curb the climate crisis, a ‘hot take’ on the floods destroying Pakistan, and a report on a forgotten and savage war of the British Empire that was all about extracting rubber.
I grew up in a small town created by Apartheid, called Lenasia, near Soweto. I first felt a connection with nature as a boy scout, learning about resourcefulness, like how to survive and light a fire. Due to the political situation in the country, my parents took me out of school and I started to work at sixteen.
My entire adult life I’ve worked in liberation movements and community activism. In 2014, I was trained by Al Gore as part of the Climate Reality program.
I’m also a serial entrepreneur. I’ve tried many, many businesses in my life, especially in renewable energy; right now I run a solar installation business. The company generates a lot of cardboard, and I’m constantly collecting the cardboard so that we have enough resources to make posters. Right now, I could probably provide enough cardboard for a protest of about 500 people.
I became interested in Extinction Rebellion immediately after it was launched. However, when they asked me: are you prepared to get arrested? I said maybe, but probably not. I think that demand is unrealistic for people in the Global South, but particularly people in Africa. You could get lost in the system.
But I resonated with everything else; that we needed to declare a climate emergency; that we needed to take it much more seriously; that we couldn’t trust governments to behave in the correct way or to tell the truth about the problem.
I’m part of the XR Gauteng branch, and my main form of activism is to be a resource to many climate justice organisations. I’m quick to put my hand up and say listen, I can help you with this or that.
I’m also one of the conveners of the Debt for Climate movement. Debt for Climate was really the continuation of a number of different conversations. On February 4th, we did an action called the Coastal Rebellion to highlight Shell’s seismic testing. People in 25 cities around the world participated. On March 24th, we had a related event on World Water day.
Then thoughts of the obligation that the Global North has to the Global South came up. This climate debt, of 500 years of extractivism. And what if we had a global campaign that could call for the cancellation of the financial debt of the Global South?
Debt for Climate’s primary objective is to turn climate debt into climate action; transform the climate debt of the Global North into Climate Action in the Global South.
The next major focus of our campaign is the 14th and 15th of October, when the World Bank and IMF will be meeting for the first time since COVID in Washington, DC. And of course after that we will focus on COP27. The idea is to popularise the campaign so that it becomes a rallying call at COP27.
In my free time, I am what you could call a “tinkerer”. I fiddle around with electronics and computers. Aside from recycling, I’ve recently started to garden so that I can teach other people how to grow their own food.