Non-violent direct action
9th October 2019
It took me the whole of yesterday to recover from two days of camping in London with Extinction Rebellion. This morning as I start to integrate my experience I find myself moved to tears.
The thing about XR is that it’s much more than what it appears at face value. It’s not just about rebelling. This movement is grounded in love.
It was strange for me to find that despite my commitment to participate and even to be arrested I had such strong feelings of inadequacy during my two days of camping with XR. These feelings came as I experienced the community spirit that I had become part of. It was incredibly eye opening for me to see how well thought out and organised XR is and how loving it’s members are.
Once an area is ‘taken’ one of the first gazebos to go up is the kitchen. Why? Because a community thrives on being nurtured and the giving of food ensures a healthy and energised community. There was an abundance of food donated continuously and the volunteers lovingly prepared and handed out food to anyone who came. Setting up a hot drinks table all day and night and a wash station to clean the dishes.
Next was the sound tent. Why? Because a community needs a central place to carry out their group activities which includes ecstatic dance, yoga, talks, meditation and so on. They organised talks from well known environmentalists as well as pretty famous music artists including Orbital and Massive attack. This tent gives the community an opportunity to learn, to integrate and to have fun, each fundamental aspects of a healthy, loving community.
As the community develops there are art tents, wellbeing tents and so on. Each integral in supporting a grounded community that can effectively support and defend the fundamental cause.
The samba band is on site most of the day and these volunteers have been practising together beforehand. They very effective in raising morale and team spirit.
XR has its own way of communicating so that they can function effectively in large groups which means that decisions can be democratically voted spontaneously. And when the heat is turned up and we are in defending mode we are always reminded by our de-escalation team that we are a non-violent-direct-action movement. We will never condone violence, we come in peace ☮️
Perhaps the most profound experience of XR is the unconditional love it offers. This is an international autocratic community created entirely by volunteers. It’s astonishing how organised and functional this community is. Every role imaginable has been defined and filed by a volunteer devoting their time and energy to a cause they believe in.
There is such a sense of abundance and trust that we will have exactly what we need. The food never ran out because donations kept flowing in. When the tents and blankets were confiscated by the police more were driven in by donors. It’s absolutely incredible.
For me XR has allowed me to experience an unconditional love that I have rarely felt before so I find myself very moved and emotional. It’s not that there isn’t unconditional love in the world but rather I couldn’t see it as I was limited by my own definition of love. Now I find myself ready to embody this new definition of love I have experienced. Today will have to be a quiet day as I take the time to integrate and absorb my new sense of being.
Photograph credit Rory Rae Photography