At the end of 2018 I began forming Indigenous Solidarity Rebellion to act as a tributary to create flows between the then new, and western, Extinction Rebellion Movement, and the Indigenous Peoples movements, already fighters against extinction and healers of the Earth, since time immemorial.
Then actions in 2019 began, and continued, and by the late spring there was still not much of an overlap between the 2 movements despite the efforts of myself and some stout comrades, and it seemed most within XR—despite their good intentions—were not truly challenging themselves to be locally grounded and in respectful relations with their local Indigenous who had harmonic and deep rooted connections to the lands that were destroyed by the colonialism that ushered in capitalism. Everyone in XR was still concerned with western law, and designing actions as if a reform of the law would be the answer to these crimes against the Earth and its people.
Cars, Germs, and Steel
For the last few years, late spring represents to me the approach of the 32nd of May, the post-colonial day that is outside the colonial calendar imposed on these lands. With this date fast approaching and my sense that decolonization needed to be more explicit, I designed a t-shirt with “Decolonize” and the XR symbol on one side, and “May 32” on the other. By this I specifically both wanted to message that XR was in need of internal decolonization—not least because it came from the land of the British Empire—and that XR could be a force of decolonization, given that it was now a large movement inspiring many to fight against core components of the system. There is much more to say here, but will be saved for a lengthier writing. Over a month after May 32, I found the moment in which to wear the shirt. On July 9 there was a bike die-in for NYC bicyclists killed by traffic. Always seeking to amplify and diversify causes, I did a car-die-in on a taxi, holding signs including “RunOverCars” and “War Against Machines”. There was a lot going in to that solo action that I felt compelled to do, but one layered set of messaging pertinent to decolonization is that cars are a common enemy to the people and land alike—killing over a million people a year—and maiming countless more. All machines, and in particular cars, have allowed the mindless emergence and acceleration of Western Colonialism’s destruction of the land, to the point of near extinction, for Indigineous and now all peoples, including westerners. Not to mention the ecocide that is the 6th mass extinction and the roll of machines; the western machine-centered ways are a disease, a plague, on the world.
July turned in to August and September, there was a very powerful Close The Camps action in New York, as well as several smaller actions in support of the Amazon. As good as this has been, and not to mention the wonderful work of my comrades for our October 10 action, it has not been groundbreaking enough to counterbalance the lethargic pace of XR as a whole to social justice. XR is far too global and homogenous and thus not local enough for deep sweeping impact; it is floating on the Earth and not of the Earth. XR is not sustainable if it does not decolonize, just as colonization has never been stable nor sustainable, and has required ever greater amount of resources to keep going.
In 2019 my actions have spoken loud, but perhaps now and in 2020 my words can speak even louder. Or at least may they be said more clearly. We need revolution to establish autonomy from the western nation state model. We need autonomy because autonomy is how people are empowered to control their own destiny. People don’t want to go extinct, but oppressive systemics root out autonomy and keep us driving in the direction of extinction. We need a campaign for Revolution, so that we can truly decolonize and not just replicate the forms. We need a campaign, not another organization that brings with it the baggage of bureaucratic logic that spoils the radical spirit. Just as The Extinction Rebellion started out as a campaign of Rising Up!, not itself an organization, so does The Extinction Revolution start out, called for by among others Ejercito Nomadistas. Nomadism is being put back on the map (or replacing the map). It is time we bring the ancient wisdom and healing of our deep ancestors of motion.
We need to break from western ways that do not benefit us nor the Earth’s other living systems, and nomadism along with indigenity are such ways to do this.
I have much more to say about all this in the coming weeks. It’s going to take much more than being in the streets. It is going to require us to do much to break down our identities and thought patterns, and be vulnerable, and leaving the streets for the fields and forests. Leaving the fire of the huge crowds to rekindle the flame of tribe.
The first day of 2020, the campaign for Extinction Revolution begins anew.
While I catch my breath, I would like to point you in the direction of Climate Justice XR.