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Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

Gordon Matta-Clark / Spacism (Anarchitecture)

Abject matter: The barricade and the tunnel for log 

FOOD: When Meals played the muse

Gruppe 66

Observation Log- Extinction Rebellion Bergen

A description of our involvement as participant observers in the climate activism group Extinction Rebellion (XR).  Extinction Rebellion is a large organization and we will focus in our description on our specific experience in our local chapter (Bergen). Out of respect for the group’s desire to keep their identities and plans for future actions secret we will not describe specific plans or people.  More general information on their approach and goals can be found on their website.  And the facebook group for XR Bergen can be found here.

First Meeting 01.09.2020

We joined XR in January, by attending a monthly public meeting, which is when the group is open for new members. The meeting was held in a recently vacated office that was being lent to the group for free.  Potential future meeting spaces were discussed, including the homes of the members, or places they could get through friends.  There were about 15 people present, equal between genders and a wide age range. 

Our first impression was that there was a lot of language to learn to be involved in the group: words, hand signals, and digital tools (encrypted messaging app and email).   There was a desire for secrecy for example turning off phones and leaving them out of the room.

We learned the group was structured into sub groups by areas of interest.  We chose to join the “action committee” which would be involved in planning and executing local actions.  As members of the action committee we would attend both the monthly general meetings and the weekly action meetings. 

There was also an emphasis on creating a “regenerative culture” (shortened to “regen”) which in this meeting involved taking a break to discuss emotions around climate change and some physical activity.

Action Meeting 01.12.2020

This meeting took place in the same office as before.  Six people present and ourselves (Julia and Linda).

We were mainly discussing the fires in Australia and an upcoming protest, which would take place at the blue stone in Torgallmenningen.  The protest would take a form which the group had already used called a “die-in” wherein protesters would lie on the ground as if they were dead.  It was discussed how to involve an awareness of the animals that had died in the fire.  I (Julia) ended up volunteering to make an illustrated list of Australian animals that could be given out to people.      

There was a discussion about the timing of protests.  One member raised the point that the group should be aware of what was being discussed currently in the municipality, and what would soon be discussed in order to time protests to be most effective on the local government, instead of reacting to things that had already occurred that they were unhappy about.

At the end of the meeting we moved some material to one member’s car: banners, t shirts, tents.

Die in for Australia 01.17.2020

We met some of the other XR members that we recognized at the blue stone.  There was a group of students from the Fridays for Futures protests collaborating with us.  The crowd was growing and shrinking throughout the protest, up to around 80 people.

An XR member from Australia gave a speech about the impact of the fires.  Then there was a ten minute period of silence for the climate, and then a woman climbed on top of the blue stone and sang a song.

Everyone lay on the ground and a man started playing the didgeridoo.   After he stopped the crowd disbanded.

DNA Training 01.28.2020

We attended a four hour training session for new members, called “DNA training” in which we were instructed via powerpoint about the structure, principles and values of the organization.

Extinction Rebellion’s strategy was framed as using successful historical tactics from other movements, ie. the civil rights movement.  Non-violence was discussed as a pragmatic approach- referencing this research- that non violent movements were statistically more successful than violent ones and that to have a successful movement, 3.5% of the population needs to be mobilized.

We had breaks with social activities and some food.  There was a brainstorming session for thinking of possible actions to do in the city, focussing on the oil industry and fish farm industry.

Fund Rave

We attended a dancing event where the entrance charge would go towards covering XR’s operating costs.  More information on XR’s financial structure.