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But armed insurrection can also make tactical sense in particular contexts. Here I am at an international meeting held by the armed #Zapatista movement in Mexico two years after their armed insurrection - their armed rebellion worked anarchism.pageabode.com/cat/zapatista /9
The Zapatista rebellion happened in a context of extreme repression & although they used the armed rebellion to open a space they put a halt to violence as soon as a deal could be negotiated. Their practise is mostly NVDA with the guns far in the background just in case /10
Here I am a couple of years later at the Prague World Bank protests in September 2000. Hours of intense rioting saw most IMF delegates panic and flee the city, ending the conference. This rioting wasn't violence as categorised by WCRW research /11
XR is run by experienced activists who should know the WCRW research doesn't not apply, this may be why they seldom give the source, just the percentages. The original paper is here mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.116… /12
Cynically I think it's being used to try & avoid fluffy / spiky debate in UK environmental movement in the mid 1990s. Yet in context of the need for escalating action & likely repression is avoiding that discussion really wise or building on sand? libcom.org/library/m11-an… /13
And in the Irish context the local #XR franchise could learn a lot from the considerable experiences of policing and direct action built up by those who struggled against Shells fossil fuel refinery at #Rossport Photo is one I took in 2009 wsm.ie/rossport /14
I'm going to take a break in thread here but will return - in the meantime Peter Gelderloos has some interesting additional critiques of WCRW paper - reading it promoted me to check his 1000 deaths claim against original & realise scale of XR misuse web.stanford.edu/group/peacejus… /15
In the meantime you may find this earlier thread on Climate Change XR, politics & colonialism useful additional background /16
I'm now moving on to a key weakness of the WCRW methodology using an example that demonstrates a glaring hole in #ExtinctionRebellion analysis of state power. To understand UK policing you have to talk about such policing in the face of large scale oppostion, ie in Ireland /17
Ireland demonstrates there isn't a neat dividing line between movements that 'choose' non violence as against those that choose violence. In real life things intermingle. And they also don't just start at a particular point but are determined by previous history /18
I'm not going back 800 years, just to 1967 when the movement that was the most successful in the UK in decades was established, that is the Northern Irish Civil Rights Association NICRA. It was as non-violent as they come, indeed did little beyond letter writing for 18 months
It only held its 1st march in Aug 68 & found its way barred by the police resulting in a sit down. Derry Housing Action Committee had also become active and was more NVDA orientated, blocking roads for 24 & 48 hour periods. Not much but enough to unleash state repression /20
5 October 68 & the state banned a planned march in Derry. When it happened anyway the police attacked and kept attacking. More marches followed, more police attacks and some concessions on housing discrimination. /21
People had defended themselves against the police attacks, it was that or be beaten. But clearly this was nothing approaching a violent movement in WCRW terms - no one had yet been killed & the 1000 death mark was a few years away /22
It's a long story where over months a non-violent movement was confronted by increasing state violence and, just as XR imagines, the movement grew in response to that. So the state escalated the violence on Aug 12th 1969 people broke - repression triggered 3 days of rioting /23
Leading to Free Derry as a large part of the catholic area of Derry erected barricades to keep the police to to prevent further police violence. Something similar happened in Belfast and British troops were deployed, these soon came into conflict with the civilian population /24
WCRW puts what this conflict became in the violent movement category but it's only in 1970 that the first republican attacks start and again repression escalates with the introduction of internment (prison without trial). Protests grow in response /25
January 1972 & British troops murder 13 civilians on a Derry march. NICRAs last act is organising 100,000 strong march but many consider the time for non-violence to have passed and in the next years enough die that by WCRW standard it finally becomes a violent movement /26
There are 5 years between the formation of NICRA & Bloody Sunday. 5 years where the British state and a UK police force escalated repression against a non-violent movement that it perceived as enough of a threat to warrant repression wsm.ie/c/northern-ire… /27
This simplified story of these 5 years demonstrates that the WCRW classification of the movement as 'violent' based on what happened after 5 years of repression is not very useful wsm.ie/c/1968-lessons… /28
XRs analysis of UK policing that ignores what a UK police force did when faced with sustained resistance is building on sand. Britain treats Ireland as a colony and is slow to import policing methods 'home' but does so at time of crisis.
The 'war in Ireland' was ran by British generals & policing was often ran by British police. Aspects were imported when dealing with BAME population in Brixton or Toxteth or Bradford. Or during the 1984 British miners strike. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_miners…
What determines the level of state violence is not on aggregate whether you have friendly chats with the Bobby sent to arrest you. They follow orders and there are very few examples of them refusing to do so. It is not 'Common Sense' to presume different behaviour
Time to dig a bit deeper into the background of the WCRW paper as at this stage you probably wondering about it. The origins story should perhaps have you thinking, 'wait who are these people and why this particular regime change focus' law.yale.edu/yls-today/news… /32
Maria J. Stephan biography pages goes a long way to answering these questions - this starts to look a lot like an argument about how the US can best bring about 'regime change' Definition of a violent movement = 1000 or more deaths makes sense in context usip.org/people/maria-j…
And returning to the WCRW paper the long discussion of regime change in East Timor falls into context. So too does the focus on violence putting off foreign funders that seems odd to choose as one of the 4 key measures in the original paper /34
We are now a very very long way indeed from any reasonable use of the success rate by #ExtinctionRebellion to reflect on diversity of tactics debates in the environmental movement. But they use it to shut down such discussions because 'facts', a terrible use of 'science' /35
In fact you might well notice this has some resemblance to the sort of trick climate change deniers pull, cite some piece of research in a journal few will have access to and not provide the obvious reasons why the research shouldn't be applied in the way they use it /36
In fact overall this demonstrates the major problem with the #XR model of mobilising newcomers for a urgent crisis response and telling them the important tactical questions have already been answered by experts / science. With 1100+ arrests there are consequences /37
The urgency of action to halt #ClimateChange is real but so too is the need for democratic decision making structures and spaces where tactics can be debated out and additional experiences brought in apart from those of founders /38
Ironically I conclude main content of thread on anniversary of #J18 - start of the summit protest movement. That movement which mobilised 100s of 1000s in confrontational protests provides many answers to what can we do, who can do it, how do we decide wsm.ie/summit-protest
This thread is on tactics around NVDA but remember we also have to reject the single issue approach that will doom the #ClimateEmergency movement to failure - /39
This is an interesting single incident piece of research -
This long and entirely uncritical BBC report by @d_a_robson on the WCRW research that fails to note the 'regime change' nature of what is being tested under 'works' just came to my attention. bbc.com/future/story/2…
Just came across this WTF clip where someone from #XR is explaining to a bewildered cop how the could more efficiently arrest people faster to minimize disruption
Some more details on those remanded in prison but thankfully released after 1 & 2 weeks here. The fundraiser for 10k legal bills is worrying if it represents a failure of XR legal support but it might just be tactical to do this as personal call? crowdjustice.com/case/help-the-…
Am I right in thinking that’s Rodger Halsram in the video, the same guy responsible for the misleading distortion of the already dodgy research this thread is all about? Certainly looks & sounds like him.
And a report of my YT explainer that looks in details at the Why Civil Resistance Works research and why it doesn't say what #ExtinctionRebellion imply it says
I presume theory behind this is that at some point the cops will suffer a moral crisis but that’s exactly why the history I recount above of state repression in the UK is important. The state has centuries of practice of ensuring it always has a back up
@d_a_robson As the British state starts to identify #ExtinctionRebellion as serious 'trouble makers' pre-emptive repression rolls out - this should have been anticipated as it's the way the UK state has always behaved, whether or not you tag yourself as non-violent independent.co.uk/voices/heathro…
As was expected once #XR engaged in effective action by threatening to disrupt flights out of Heathrow the gives came off and pre-emptive arrests begun. Including of a journalist coven the flying of toy drones in a car park near the airport realmedia.press/photo-journali…
And today it emerges that the police in the 'UK' have banned a Labour Party activist from their own party conference through denying them security clearance - again typical of historic pattern of repressing protest as soon as it is effective
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