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An Open Answer to Extinction Rebellion Köln

Dieser Text ist leider noch nicht übersetzt.
The following text is an open answer to Extinction Rebellion Köln. It is continuing the discourse that started on the hambibleibt mastodon account with a thread about controversies related to XR.
To read how it started follow this link:
https://todon.nl/@hambibleibt/102600200712652034
why we choose to be on mastodon you can read here: https://twitter.com/HambiBleibt/status/1158493876518301696

AN OPEN ANSWER TO XR KÖLN:

Thanks for taking the time replying to this thread. The following is a personal perspective, written from the hambibleibt blog. as it gives those active here, the opportunity to use it as a platform to voice their ideas.

Reading your replies, I must say that I do understand your perspective, to the extend that I had shared similar ideas at one point in my life and some that I still share with you. Let’s say it like that: there’s much I disagree with what I’ve believed in ones, same as I disagree with several arguments you present. To avoid miss communication, I will try to describe what I perceive in your replies as the core message (what you desire) while leaving all details beside, simply to not be distracted by it and to see if I do understand you correctly.

1. You see the climate crisis as a threat that you want to counter effectively.
2. You present several values and strategies that you believe support you in that.

Is that correct?
Speaking about my self, I want the same.
Why have I then said I have much disagreements for your arguments?
There are some values and strategies that I disagree much with. I will try to elaborate on each, but first like to add that choosing „diversity of tactics“ would allow us to each choose different strategies while still being in solidarity and supportive for each other. Diversity of tactics is an approach that understands that it needs multiple different approaches to reach ones goal, that acknowledges the reasons for the different chosen strategies, that tries to combine the different strategies in collaborative ways…

Before I name where I disagree in particular, I’ll add some bits that I actually like:
– the aim to reflect
– not wanting to support status quo
– the approach to not reduce systemic failure to individualistic failure

…so, now to the disagreement. And here I must say, I do write this while feeling anger and sadness, not to you personal, but against a world that created those oppressive narratives, that you simply reproduce.

(text behind > is quoted text from XR Köln’s replies)

> Our core value „We avoid blaming and shaming
We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.“ also means that we do not blame people in the police for being in the police.

It makes sense to not reduce systematic failure to individualistic failure, but it neither seems to make sense to do the opposite, arguing „it’s just the system“. It’s not. Those that have the most negative impact on our climate have names and addresses. They can be pressured and blamed for what they do. While doing so, understand that the target audience for such an act, does not necessary need to be the person being blamed but those that listen it as it can change how they position themselves related to that person. Can you understand what I try to say? Does it makes sense to you?

> we do not blame people in the police for being in the police.

Nobody needs to be a cop. It’s a decision out of a privileged position. Everyone choosing to do so, knows that it also means choosing to support push backs that kill people, to name just one example. Those being killed, did not have that position to decide, they were forced. And they do blame cops for it.
Also: not blaming a cop for being in the police is one thing, but it’s another thing to describe the police as allies. They are not! They are always at the forefront on oppressing social movements. The police as an institution is beside the military the only institution that has the political power to force an entirely climate destructive system upon us. Without them, I promise you, we would be able to shut down every coal mine and every coal energy station in entire germany today, tomorrow all europe…and so forth.
Look at the action from Ende Gelände. Who’s stopping them? Who’s beating them? Who’s arresting them? Who’s traumatizing them? Who’re their allies?

> Plus, acts of repression from the police are only effective in creating sympathy from the general population – which is what we’re after – if we don’t provoke the police.

The police exists to protect and ensure an entirely violent system that’s causing the climate crisis. I aim, with many others, to disrupt this. What do you mean with not provoking the police? As you want civil disobedience, it can’t be not following their order. Cops believe in authoritative systems and every act of disobeying their authority might be a provocation for them. I believe that we should not take this, if the police feels provoked or not, as a measurement to choose which strategy we value as effective.
As an counter argument to yours I simply add: the hambacher forest occupation does have public support. It is said that Molotov cocktails were in use.
There are endless other examples, where combative methods were used, and they gained public support. vietnam war, the soviet invasion of Afghanistan, partisan resistance during World War II in Yugoslavia and Italy, the anarchist resistance in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, the oka crisis, the resistance of the Zapatistas, the Black Spring in Kabylie, Bolivias’s Water and Gas War, resistance by people in Rojava, 15M Movement, Gilet Jaunes, Occupy, the mapuche struggle, black liberation movements, anti-colonialist struggle in india…just to name a few.

But neither should this be the leading criteria to define if a strategy is effective. A mass that is cheering (public support) is not the same as being capable of countering the climate crisis.

> We do, however, _not_ support the status quo at all. Our approach is to force politicians to accept our demands through the use of nonviolent mass civil disobedience.

The status quo is a society that defines access to rights based on the privileges.
The status quo is a colonialist organized society.
The status quo is a society where resources are organized and distributed under the command of those that have accumulated most of it, rather then based on needs and capabilities. Death is justified, struggling against this order often seen as criminal.
The status quo is a hierarchical order, where those on top have the most negative impact on our climate and are supported to be the ones making the most legitimate decisions. It is supported by material and ideological means.
The status quo is capitalism, where profit weights more then to protect our climate.
The status quo is the police that exists to protect the status quo.

XR (not necessary your local group) does support this. The leaders of XR do support this on purpose, as they define gaining support higher then reevaluating effectiveness. To avoid logical dissonance that would result from this, they define gaining public support and effectiveness to be the same. Which is the reason Roger Hallam, a founder and leader of XR, is able to describe police arrests as the most effective tool against the climate crisis. They argue that mass arrests will help to gain public support (depending on the circumstances this is true), and as gaining public support and effectiveness is defined as being the same, XR is able to create the narrative portraying mass arrests as among the most effective thing to counter the climate crisis.
Here an example of an counter argument. If the following holds true, XR got it wrong:
If there would be no police/military we (those that are organized to struggle for climate justice) could shut down every coal industry in Germany until tomorrow, the next day entire europe…and and beyond. We can’t because the police/military is stopping us from doing so, until we become uncontrollable…

> In the end, however, we know that the police(wo)men are as affected by our ecological crisis as everyone else, that’s why we want them as allies rather than enemies.

The climate crisis is effecting everyone, but not everyone in the same way. Some will even gain personal benefits from it. Some that believe in strict hierarchical order in society might use the times of the crisis to repress social movements. Cops often have for what ever reason, personal interest in such. Neither do those that life in europe experience the climate crisis as the same threat as let’s say indigenous such as the Kofan, Siona, Secoya, Waorani peoples…living in amazonas. It is important to acknowledge this. More on that in specific here: https://www.amazonfrontlines.org/

> The main reason why we stick to nonviolence is that historically, the majority of violent uprisings that were successful in overthrowing the previous system then later on lead to new authoritarian systems.

What I see here is a confusion on 2 levels. One that is confusing/mixing correlation, cause and reaction and then to argue based on that confusion for non-violence.
Before I try to explain why that is, I feel the need to make the following clear:
Non-violent actions are important. We need them. What we don’t need is historic revisionism, as it makes us incapable of learning from past failures and so we’re doomed to repeat them.

There have been many authoritarian uprisings, no question. And sure they lead to new authoritarian systems. But that can’t be an argument why non-violence would be superior. The nazi’s in germany had an violent and authoritarian uprising. Only physical combative resistance worked. Arguing that non-violence is superior, comes with arguing that those targeted by their fascism the most, should give up on their rights to simply exist.
That is actually also what Gandhi did: „…the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves in the sea from cliffs“ – Mahatma Gandhi
The holocaust was entirely violent. Not using violence, did not stop this violence. If we want to end a end a violent system we need to ask how to archive that. Claiming non-violence to be superior, shuts down this discussion before it even started.
The claim pacifism being superior is of ideological nature, not based on historical observation or analysis of current events. It is believed that responding to violence lead to more violence, some even believe that a violent respond would lead to spiral of violence in that everything implodes. And I’m even not joking here. Also this is based on a confusions that mixes countering violence as the same as supporting violence. While obviously countering violence is not the same as supporting a violent system. It needs this confusion so that it does not create logical dissonance within those that believe in it.

 

Even the study (claimed to be about effectiveness of non-violence) by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan to what many pacifists refer to, needs to do the exact same in order to present non-violence as superior. If you’re part of XR, it’s likely that you’ve heard of that study, since the leaders of XR use it to justify their proposed strategies.
Are you aware that this study is on no scientific ground, that it is completely biased and that it’s authors are aware of it but try to miss represent this?

What’s wrong with the study?

If you have the time, please take a read to the following quote, otherwise skip it until the next point.

Social scientists Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan are the authors of a study that is among the only statistical analyses of the effectiveness of nonviolence. Like many social scientists before them, they use statistics to obscure more complex truths. They claim to have compiled a list of 323 major nonviolent campaigns or violent conflicts from 1900 to 2006, and then superficially rate these as “successful”, “partially successful”, or “failed”. They do not use revolutionary criteria for success, and in their mind the “Color Revolutions” and many other reformist, dead-end, or self-betraying movements were successful. Although they rate campaigns as objectively violent or nonviolent, they do not define violence, and they also uncritically use loaded terms like “the international community”. They credit nonviolence with victory in cases where international peacekeeping forces, i.e. armies, had to be called in to protect peaceful protesters, as in East Timor, and they define victory simply as the achievement of a movement’s goals, as though movements ever had a consensus on their goals.

They do not publish the list of campaigns and conflicts with their original study, and after extensive searching I was unable to find it. They explain that the list of major nonviolent campaigns was provided to them by “experts in nonviolent conflict”, in other words, people who are almost exclusively proponents of nonviolence. Given widespread manipulation by such “experts,” who frequently describe heterogeneous struggles as “nonviolent,” such as the independence movements in South Africa and India, the Civil Rights movement, or the uprisings of the Arab Spring, we can only assume that many of successful nonviolent campaigns on the list included armed and combative elements. The violent conflicts that they include in their study come from a completely different source: [primarily] lists of armed conflicts with over 1,000 combatant deaths. In other words, wars. They are comparing apples and oranges, lining social movements up against wars, as though these different kinds of conflicts arose in the same circumstances and were merely a product of the choices of their participants.

One methodological weakness they do admit to, in a footnote, is that by focusing on “major” nonviolent campaigns, they weed out the many ineffective nonviolent campaigns that never assumed large proportions. But none of the measures they took, ostensibly to correct that bias, could possibly have any effect. Circulating “the data among leading authorities on nonviolent movements to make sure we accounted for failed movements” is useless since there is no objective distinction between major and minor campaigns, and the biggest failures never become major campaigns. Running “multiple tests both across nonviolent and violent cases and within nonviolent cases alone to ensure robustness on all results” is worthless if the study sample is stacked from the start.[21]

Their entire method is superficial to the point of being useless. They are using statistics to obscure complex realities. But even in this flawed endeavor, they have to manipulate the statistics in order to affirm their preconceived conclusions. Most of their paper centers on a detailed explanation of their hypotheses, and pseudo-logical arguments for why their hypotheses must be correct. For example, they cite psychological studies on individual decision-making, with the unspoken assumption that complex social conflicts between institutions and heterogeneous populations will follow the same patterns.[22] They provide no evidence for key arguments like “the public is more likely to support a nonviolent campaign” (p. 13) nor do they interrogate the figure of “the public”. They also make convenient use of non sequiturs, as in the following paragraph:

Second, when violent insurgents threaten the lives of regime members and security forces, they greatly reduce the possibility of loyalty shifts. Abrahms finds that terrorist groups targeting civilians lose public support compared with groups that limit their targets to the military or police.[footnote removed] Surrendering or defecting to a violent movement […] [p. 13]

All the subsequent arguments in the paragraph, which are rhetorical arguments lacking any documentation or data, refer to the topic sentence of the paragraph. All of them are intended to convince readers that so-called violent movements are less effective at provoking defection or “loyalty shifts” among state forces. The only sentence that makes any reference to evidence is the second one, quoted above. But notice how the study cited actually has nothing to do with the topic sentence, no bearing on the question of defection nor the variable violence/nonviolence (Abrahms‘ study only addresses violent groups, distinguishing between those that do and do not target civilians).

Elsewhere in the study, the authors ambiguously admit that the statistics do not reveal more defections in the face of nonviolent movements, but they structure the entire article to hide that inconvenience and advance their preconceived arguments.

Such operational successes occur among violent campaigns occasionally, but nonviolent campaigns are more likely to produce loyalty shifts. Although in the quantitative study these findings are qualified by data constraints, our case studies reveal that three violent campaigns were unable to produce meaningful loyalty shifts among opponent elites, whereas such shifts did occur as a result of nonviolent action in the Philippines and East Timor. [p. 42]

To put it more plainly, these “data constraints” are a lack of data supporting their argument, or “insignificant effects” as they admit on page 20. The three case studies they call in to save the day are three examples cherry-picked to prove the point they are trying to make. We can do better: the Vietnam War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, partisan resistance during World War II in Yugoslavia and in Italy, and the anarchist resistance in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War. Five examples of armed movements provoking major defections among the armies sent to crush them, all of them more definitive and on a higher scale than the “loyalty shifts” provoked in the Philippines and East Timor.

In one paragraph summing up her research, Chenoweth acknowledges that the impact of a “violent wing” on the success rates of a movement is “not statistically significant” and then in the next paragraph say that “the most troubling possibility is that the armed wing will reduce the movement’s chances of success.” Later, she commits the most basic error in statistics, confusing correlation with causation, to say that “an armed wing can reduce popular participation [her emphasis]” even though her own data do not support this assertion.[23]

It is significant that mention of this study made the rounds on a number of nonviolent websites. From what I saw, the nonviolence advocates who used the statistics to prove the superiority of their method never linked directly to the study. They probably never even read it.

In order to evaluate the successes and failures of the major uprisings of the last twenty-odd years since the end of the Cold War, we need a fair and sensible set of criteria. We can set aside the superficial question of “who won?”, given that nobody has won, except for those who continue to rule us.

We should also avoid the criterion of whether or not a movement leads to increased repression. I can remember countless arguments in which supporters of nonviolence have tried to paint a struggle as a failure on the grounds that it was heavily repressed. The semi-effective nonviolent movements of the past all provoked an increase in government repression whenever they could encourage widespread disobedience. The belief of modern pacifists, which was not shared by King or Gandhi, that peaceful struggle can avoid brutal consequences at the hands of police and military, has been effectively used as a selling point to flood the ranks of nonviolent movements with opportunists, weekenders, fair-weather friends, cowards, careerists, and naïve citizens who think that changing the world can be easy and hassle-free. Repression is inevitable in any struggle against authority. It is important to be able to survive this repression, but in the worst case, a struggle that is completely crushed by repression is still more effective—because it can inspire us today—than a struggle that allows itself to be recuperated for fear of repression, as happens with many nonviolent movements. Therefore, because the long-term effects of repression still remain to be seen, we will not include this as a criterion, but we will note if a particular rebellion was successfully defeated by repression or recuperation, so that readers will notice a pattern if the combative movements truly are unable to cope with repression, as their critics claim, or if nonviolent movements are frequently recuperated, as we claim.

One criterion of the utmost importance is whether a movement succeeds in seizing space in which new relations can be put in practice. New relations mean: do people share communally and enjoy direct access to their means of survival, or is the social wealth alienated; are people able to organize their own lives, activity, and surroundings, or is decision-making authority monopolized by government structures; do women, trans, and queer people enjoy means of self-defense and self-determination, or are they fully exposed to the violence of patriarchy; do people of color and indigenous people have means of self-defense and autonomy, or are they at the mercy of colonial structures like the market and the police? While the forms are different, the social relations are fundamentally the same between one capitalist state and another, whereas there is a marked difference in the social relations in a stateless commune or an independent indigenous territory. Even though autonomous space will usually be reconquered by the State, we take the experiences of self-organization away with us. The more of these experiences we win, the more powerful our struggles become, the greater our capacity for self-organization on a higher level, and the more people there are who know that obedience to the existing system is not the only option.

This suggests a second criterion: to what extent a movement spreads awareness of its ideas. And this, in turn, needs to be evaluated in terms of whether those ideas are spread as passive information, or whether they are communicated as ideas worth fighting for (or in the case of the nonviolent, taking action and making sacrifices for).

Because of the importance of recuperation in defeating social movements, one important criterion is whether a movement has elite support. If a part of the elite supports a movement, it is much more likely that the movement appears to achieve a victory, when in fact the victory is insubstantial and allows the elite to improve their own situation. This criterion can also show if the pacifists are right when they say the government wants us to be violent, or if the opposite is true, that the elite want us to be nonviolent.

Finally, did a movement achieve any concrete gains that improve people’s lives, restore their dignity, or demonstrate that struggle is worth it and that the government is not omnipotent? From this criterion, we must exclude strictly formalistic gains, like pro-democracy movements that achieve free and fair elections, because this is a redundant victory that can only matter to those who have allowed themselves to believe that democratic government is somehow analogous to freedom or a better life. When the Soviet Bloc countries transitioned from dictatorship to democracy, citizens‘ freedom of action did not at all increase, whereas their quality of life suffered dramatically. In other words, the achievement of democracy is solely a question of how power organizes itself, and not one that necessarily impacts how normal people live. If, however, successful resistance to a dictatorship means that people can take to the streets without fear of being arrested and tortured, then we can clearly count this as a concrete gain. Hopefully, the critical difference is obvious.[24]

In sum, the four basic criteria are:

  1. whether a movement seized space for new social relations;
  2. whether it spread an awareness of new ideas (and secondarily if this awareness was passive or whether it inspired others to fight);
  3. whether it had elite support;
  4. whether it achieved any concrete gains in improving people’s lives.

Because all of us are still at the mercy of an oppressive system, our focus must be on the strengthening of our struggles for freedom, dignity, and well-being. The above criteria measure the health of our struggles, and whether different methods avail us of what we need to have any chance of creating a new world.

This was quoted from the book „the failure of non-violence“. I can highly advice to read it. The first 4 chapters are free to read from within theanarchistlibrary
here:
https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-the-failure-of-nonviolence

> We continue the tradition of e.g. Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King, who lead strictly non-violent movements to success.

No, you can’t. Simply for the reason that what you try to redo that you believe your idols did, never happened.
Neither the anti-colonialist movements in india were limited to non-violence neither the black liberation movements in the US.
„the riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King
He continued that the country had “failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met, and it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity.”
http://blackrosefed.org/why-mlk-should-be-remembered-as-a-revolutionary/

Beside that the anti-colonialist movements in India weren’t limited to non-violence, maybe it need to be said that Gandhi was actually a violent person as he gave support to all sort of oppression that lead to a new authoritarian system.
While the text is already very long, and I’m getting tired in writing, I try to end it with the following:

I wish you’ve been reading the text until here, and that you’ll be taking you’re time to reflect on it within you XR group.

I also wish that you’ll take your time to reflect on the following questions:

What is violence?
What forms of violence can I identify?
Where do I take part in supporting violence?
What can I do to counter this?
What are the benefits of „diversity of tactics“ over „pacifism“?
How is pacifism supporting violent systems?

Dieser Beitrag hat 16 Kommentare

  1. „The police as an institution is beside the military the only institution that has the political power to force an entirely climate destructive system upon us. Without them, I promise you, we would be able to shut down every coal mine and every coal energy station in entire germany today, tomorrow all europe…and so forth.“

    At this point I stopped reading since it shows the narrow mindness of the author. You would not only be able to shut down every coal mine but to robb everything from anyone as well. Survival of the stronges. Stupid.

    1. @NN
      I’m the author. Reading your comment makes me angry on the ignorance it comes with, while you even being so arrogant about it.

      We live in a colonialist world – the police protects this structure.
      We live in a world where those that are best in robbing are protected by the police.
      We live in a world where those having the most influence on climate destruction are being protected by the police, those that oppose are beaten, cadged, killed, tortured…
      8 people own more then 50% of the population. That such a robbery can function, you need a highly organized violent structures. The military and the police exist to facilitate it. There are exceptions of course, but that doesn’t makes the statement being false.
      We live in a society where it’s legitimate to buy product in a shop that are done by slave labor, but it’s called a crime if those products are being taken without supporting that slavery. If you get caught, you receive repression from the police.
      We life in a society were it’s justified to kick people out of their homes, just for the reason to make profit, and police is the institution to make it possible.
      …and in this society it’s justified to cause the climate crisis but it’s criminalized to just shut down coal mines.

      All the time that you spend for writing your message, was to defend that.
      If you aren’t able to proof me wrong on the above presented points, it would mean you got it wrong.

      As further reading advice, there’s the book „Our enemies in blue“.
      You’ll find it here: https://www.akpress.org/our-enemies-in-blue.html
      and here in digital: https://archive.org/search.php?query=our%20enemies%20in%20blue

      It’s focused on „police and power in america“, so it can’t be used as a general statement, I’m aware of it, but it still helps to counter the narrative of: but the police is good. – no! they are structurally problematic.
      You heard about the milgram experiment? It got repeated in multiple different settings to proof it’s findings. It basically describes a psychological issue that comes with applying authority into social relation. Read more here:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
      The police is entirely build upon that principle.

  2. @NN
    What? Is this a winy cop that couldnt read this, without complaining about how mean it would be to take away your sweet privilegde of being the exploiter.

  3. Thank you for writing such a long answer and providing reading material. You really seem to have studied this in detail and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.
    It is so so important and integral that we always question systems, movements etc etc and I try to be as open minded as possible when I join a movement or otherwise.

    I absolutely see your point and also struggle to come to terms with this police situation. I don’t believe we should be supporting them, but also believe (as I myself have encountered this) that they believe they are doing the right thing (sometimes). Growing up in this society I was pushed into taking a ‚proper‘ Job and as a Music Therapist this was not considered proper andI was scrutinised for it. So I can understand when Police people feel pushed into a career that they eventually, probably hate. Anyway, I agree that we should not be supporting them, still believe that they are people and are also stuck in this system and feel trapped. I have had many many patients who work in the police, FBI, are police chiefs etc etc and it’s horrible to listen to their stories of the authoritarian, cruel leadership that takes place within the police and system. I also believe many people join the police force because they are traumatised, were bullied or had authoritarian upbringings and so believe this is the right thing to do or want to also feel this power that was always exerted over them.
    That of course doesn’t make it right, but I believe that these are some of the reasons why it intensifies the system.

    So on to my other point. XR wants to include families, children, elderly, disabled etc and I don’t think this would be possible if we were a violent movement. I believe that violence will probably need to be used at some point, but does that mean XR needs to be violent? Why can we not have a movement that is based on non-violence and a seperate movement that wants to be based on violence (or include violence)? Do you think this would be a good approach?

    I am thankful for every person who is active for this world and wants to make it better, who is inclusive and wants to create a liveable peaceful planet. I just believe that it takes all forms of activism, and I think a lot of people (especially young families) feel drawn towards XR because they say they are non-violent.
    Do you disagree?

    Sending love to Hambi ✊

    1. thanks to all taking the time reading here, and for engaging on it.

      I’ll try to take the time to reply to your answers. With what I got disappointed is seeing that informations that I have presented, are being ignored in multiple of your arguments, so that it makes you arguments sound as if being a counter argument. It is a manipulation that works with confusion through logical fallacies.
      ————————————————————————————————-
      @P.J.

      > but also believe (as I myself have encountered this) that they [the police] believe they are doing the right thing (sometimes).
      ———————————————————————————-
      Of course they do. This is the reason they are able to enforce so much violence without that it is causing to much cognitive dissonance. People that were pressing the death button within the milgram experiment also believed it right to press the button. They believe in an authoritarian order, that justifies it’s existence by authority. Just because someone thinks they do something right, does it not mean they share a moral ground with you. Fascists think they do something right. When trying to find strategies countering them, it is important to keep that in mind. Such as: you won’t be able to make them disappear through a conversation where you talk about the current oppression within our system. They do want an oppressive system. They want to change the current one in a way that they can benefit more from the oppression. Whenever you find common ground with them, when they argue against some current oppression, you might do this because of being against oppression, they do this because they want more power.
      A nice explanation on that topic is given by the following video:
      https://www.invidio.us/watch?v=agzNANfNlTs
      ——————————————————————————————–
      > …still believe that they are people and are also stuck in this system and feel trapped.
      ———————————————————————————–
      the poor individuals that target refugees to death. Sure the individual oppressor is always just an individual within an oppressive system, where they themselves are pushed to accept thirteen social norms. I believe trans formative justice (black communities that needed to take care of conflicts by themselves, as calling the police was not helping, but rather producing killed community members) is an important framework that we should learn more from. The core of it is helping victims. So having them in the focus, rather then the oppressor. But of course also knowing that it’s important to work with those that oppress, as it can help to prevent them repeating it.

      What I observed in your reply, is something that I experience as the default behavior when police is criticized. Building up a defense position legitimizing their action. Here an example where something similar happens, and how it is entirely racist:

      A white cis dude is doing a terrorist attack.
      Discourse: Oh, our society is the problem, it creates such poor individuals.

      A poc targets cops for their racism.
      Discourse: they should not do this.

      Thought you did not do the same, of course, but I see some similarities, or at least it was reminding me on this.
      ————————————————————–
      > XR wants to include families, children, elderly, disabled etc and I don’t think this would be possible if we were a violent movement
      ————————————————————
      that’s great. But it’s a bit manipulative, as you use an argument that is unrelated, but making it sound as it would be a counter argument of what I described (in other words: it’s a logical fallacy).
      Non-violent actions are great! movements that organize non-violent action are great! What I am criticizing is people that choose pacifism because of their privilege, but claiming that it would be the best strategy.
      I brought up arguments proofing it wrong. Not one single argument, I repeat: not one single argument anyone of those claiming them wrong, was able to create a counter argument. A logical fallacy is not a counter argument. It is manipulative, it protects your prior believe system but that’s it.
      —————————————————————-
      > Why can we not have a movement that is based on non-violence and a seperate movement that wants to be based on violence (or include violence)? Do you think this would be a good approach?
      ————————————————————–
      Maybe we just have here some semantic disagreements. So I say first what I think is great:
      movements/individuals that want do dismantle oppression (climate crisis is part of that) and that have choose strategies that they believe work best for them in doing so. Where ever a strategies of others helps to dismantle oppression, one tries to support it.

      What I don’t like:
      Its a manipulative rhetoric question, that suggests if I would have argued that we should have organizations based on violence. I don’t.
      An organization based on violence. lol. I don’t understand why someone would want to work together with an organization that is based on violence when one is against violence. I was also the one that argued to not work with such organizations, while those that claim to be non-violent argue it’s important to work together with organizations based on violence. Remember: the police and military is based on violence.
      We have organizations that are based on countering climate crisis. Different organizations choose different strategies. Basing on non-violence/violence has the tendency of making the specification of a choose strategy supreme over what ones want to counter such as countering climate crisis.
      ————————————————————————
      >I just believe that it takes all forms of activism
      ———————————————————————
      that’s what diversity of tactics is about. And I gave arguments how XR is against it.
      Ende Gelände supports diversity of tactis. Ende Gelände is doing only non-violent action.
      XR does not support diversity of tactics. XR is only doing non-violent action.

      Only claiming of being for something, does not make it true if one acts against it.
      For example: “I am not a nazi, but….”, does not make you not being a racist.
      ————————————————————————–
      „I am thankful for every person who is active for this world and wants to make it better, who is inclusive and wants to create a liveable peaceful planet.“

      !!! yes.

  4. Hearing the critisism about xr, i always get the feeling, that we would offend you.. You ask for the benefit of diversity of tactics over pacifism, as if xr would not support diversity of tactics – xr does acknowledge and respect other forms of action, but simply chose a different approach in order to have a greater diversity inside the spectrum of social/climate movements, which allows to reach out to people who are very far from joining you in hambi. Xr doesnt want to tell you how to do your job – xr recognized that in the past 30 years nothing really changed politically and we have to build a mass movement that has do be as inclusive as possible. Yes, that also means that we cant run around screaming „Fuck capitalism! Fuck nazis! Fuck the system!“
    Dont get me wrong, i would love to do that, but it scares off a lot of people who might not be active yet, but know there is something wrong that has to be changed.

    How can we advocate „telling the truth“ then?

    In the first place, xr is focused at the breakdown of climate and the following social collapse. This is THE truth, that has to be understood right now, because there is not a lot of time left to secure a planet with life-supporting conditions on it. If this isnt tackled right now – all social problems will get worse and work that antifacists, feminists.. have done in the last hundreds of years will vanish.
    Xr beliefes that once people understand the fckd up situation we are in, more will get active and change can happen, change that also adresses racism, sexism, nationalism.. We are aware of that.

    Accepting the police as an institiution

    Having no police would allow us to block fossil fuels, yes. But having no police would also allow RWE and such to shoot us down when we try to. Yes, the police is just doing there job right now, but the police is as you said an advocate of the system we live in, which reflects the violence used by them onto the government. The idea behind non-violent mass civil disobedience is to make the implicit violence the state forces upon us visible. We protest in order to be punished for it – to show that the system is rigged.
    And it is not impossible for single police officers to wake up, to see the harm they are doing and join the protest. But this will never happen if we keep screaming ACAB. During Ende Gelände i have seen many police officers devastated, when hearing „We are fighting for your children“ for half an hour – they are aware of their cognitive dissonance, but in order to flip it onto the right side, we have to be willing to include them and they have to understand how bad the situation really is.
    It is a choice to become a police member, lets not make the choice to stop being one harder than it has to be.

    I dont want be seen as a naive pacifist – i think violence will get worse and i understand the need to counter violence at a certain point, but we are in the privileged situation right now, that we can build a big non-violent fundament that has to opressed at some point – thats when counter violence might be necessary. My hope is, that by then, the fundament of people rebelling and for that having been repressed is also supporting the possibly violent answer.
    People dont change in one day, give them some time – we need to be many.

    This is my perspective of xr and what i am trying to build right know – i greatly support other forms of action, pls do so too.

    1. thanks to all taking the time reading here, and for engaging on it.
      I’ll try to take the time to reply to your answers. With what I got disappointed is seeing that informations that I have presented, are being ignored in multiple of your arguments, so that it makes you arguments sound as if being a counter argument. It is a manipulation that works with confusion through logical fallacies.
      (I’m the author)

      behind > there is a quote from you, under it my reply.
      ———————————-

      @JAN
      ————————
      > Hearing the criticism about xr, i always get the feeling, that we would offend you..
      ————————-
      I answered this within the beginning of the text with:
      „…to the disagreement. And here I must say, I do write this while feeling anger and sadness, not to you personal, but against a world that created those oppressive narratives, that you simply reproduce.“
      ————————-

      > You ask for the benefit of diversity of tactics over pacifism,
      ————————-
      pacifism is the exclusion of diversity of tactics. Diversity of tactics includes non-violent actions.

      ————————–
      > as if xr would not support diversity of tactics
      ————————-
      people within XR support diversity of tactics. The organization itself is not.
      I gave explanation to that already. Why do you ignore this in your argumentation?

      ————————
      > xr does acknowledge and respect other forms of action, but simply chose a different approach in order to have a greater diversity inside the spectrum of social/climate movements
      ————————
      that sounds great. But it is in logical dissonance with claiming that the method chosen by Roger Hallam and friends (rise up) is supreme over every other, and that this should be the method people should use, while the claims are based on that study from Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan. This study is a manipulative lie in order to justify pacifism. Pacifism is against diversity of tactics.
      Every XR group has adopted this position created by Rise up. Show me where not, show me where it is not something XR is based on, and I am proofed to be wrong.

      I wish I am wrong!

      ————————-
      > we have to build a mass movement that has do be as inclusive as possible. Yes, that also means that we cant run around screaming „Fuck capitalism! Fuck nazis! Fuck the system!“
      ————————–
      I found the following sentence as a tag on a wall:
      “you claim for effective social change we need to reach the masses. And to reach the masses you claim we must adopt to status quo, you claim we have to be non-violent. And in the end we have the masses, being undefenses when there’s violence, that you claim to be non-violence.”

      If you’re not building a strong position against nazi’s, you’re not inclusive, as you then make space for racist positions within your organization. Which did already happened within XR. For example their racist paper on dealing with prisons. Things like that will repeat, if there is not a strong position against what it creates.
      On what I agree is that the framing of the message could be way better. It is using sexual violence. Thought we should avoid using terms that are based for such purpose.
      ————————————-
      > Having no police would allow us to block fossil fuels, yes. But having no police would also allow RWE and such to shoot us down when we try to
      ————————————
      What do you mean with “allow”? RWE is in this moment able to pay a militias that uses guns against us. So you don’t mean that they are able to do, because they are in this very moment. So maybe you mean if RWE would be able to continue their business when they shoot us? And that’s a question that can be answers with the existence of police in mind and without.
      In both case it will be the same answer: because shooting us is socially absolute unaccepted and because people exist that can counter such an attack as far as making it impossible for RWE to continue. That is true, with and without the police.
      What is also true, that in other struggles the police is shooting people, that the police is helping to hide mass murder or even being directly involved in, that the police cooperates with companies involved in killing environmentalist.
      The police is not protecting us! Yes, there are cases where the cops do so, but the institution police does not exist to protect us, they exist to threaten us with violence so that we obey to the status quo.
      If you are protected by the police, question your privileges, question what it has to do with classicism and question how this is part of a very violent social order.
      —————————————–
      > The idea behind non-violent mass civil disobedience is to make the implicit violence the state forces upon us visible.
      —————————————
      That’s an idea, that is not bound to non-violence. It has actually nothing to do with violence/non-violence. It’s the idea of provocation and confronting. You provoke to cause an reaction. This can be done by non-violent actions, but also with more combative methods. The protests in hong kong that currently happen, make the implicit violence of the state very visible. They use all sorts of strategies. From demonstration, to throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, from blockades with ones own body to destroying infrastructure facilitating oppression. From china they are now threaten with an invasion of their military. That perfectly shows how the military is being used to uphold colonialist structures. On the suggestion that it’s more effective to stay non-violent, there are many examples where people did so, were crushed away by the police, and for the reason of being undefensive the protest disapeard. Thought the last example where just this happened in europe was the protests in Catalonia to become their own nation. Pacifism does not has an answer to this strategy used by the police, and by that is easier to control.
      —————————————–
      >We protest in order to be punished for it – to show that the system is rigged.
      —————————————-
      Honestly, I’d be interested in beating you now, just for the reason of giving you the chance to show others how violent our society is, and that we really need to change that. Do you think it’s a good idea?
      I don’t, so look for someone else that’s beating you. Maybe going to a secret meeting of combat18 and then out yourself to be among the identities that they wish to kill. Maybe that helps to show that we have a problem with racist terror organizations. At least they could find joy in beating you. And you could save the world from racist terror organizations by it.
      I am aware that this principle is among the core principles of XR.
      But what if it doesn’t work? Maybe do something that does work?

      I find this strategy disgusting. So many people are being punished by just how the system works. How about helping them to get their message out? That would help to show how rigged the system is.
      What I’m are of is that those that are being punished from the same or for the same reason might easier create solidarity between them, as if they would not know the suffer of the other. Helping others in their struggle, such as blocking a deportation, thought would create more then enough suffering to feel emotional bound to the ones that are deported. Your approach sounds like creating an adventure, just as it was also written in the how to deal with prison paper by XR, that is not directed to countering oppression, but to experience it. You can experience more then enough oppression while countering oppression, just with the difference that the later focuses on creating change the other on creating experience independent from creating the hoped change.

      Here for everyone again:
      XR promotes the idea that being arrested is the most effective strategy for countering climate crisis. This is not a joke! I gave reasons why this is nonsense. Not for one single reason did they created a counter argument, but rather repeated or used distractive logical fallacies. This kind of reminds me on how sects operate…did I already say that I hate catholics? Actually not really fitting into the conversation, but though this is among the statements that fit everywhere, every time. I hate catholics, and you can too.
      ——————————————-
      > And it is not impossible for single police officers to wake up, to see the harm they are doing and join the protest.
      ——————————————
      And it is not impossible that the naiv is getting played by the spy cops or other infiltrator. The environmental movement in the UK (where XR comes from) was actually hit hard by that. They build up long term relation to activists, some even had children together, and where constantly spying to send the informations to the police. You might think, yeah, doesn’t matter, we don’t really have to hide anything, take in mind that much of the information they collect are about intimacy, private stuff and how the relation between the different people are. You might ask why? Because those informations can be used to take influence on group dynamics and such. And no it’s not a conspiracy theory, look it up, it is well documented.
      ——————————————
      > And it is not impossible for single police officers to wake up, to see the harm they are doing and join the protest. But this will never happen if we keep screaming ACAB.
      —————————————–
      Because why? If you say ACAB will cops then believe the climate crisis does not exist?
      That we should not shout angry messages against Nazis you said already, is that also because you want them to join you?
      Also: only if a message is addressed to a specific target does it not mean that they are also the target audience. ACAB is a reminder, an expression of them being unacceptable, an expression of them being a structural problem, an expression to cause discussion as it is provocative,…and so on.
      But, me personal I do not like it. I don’t like to use the term bastard. So I use other terms to confront them with, but I do understand and respect why people use ACAB. In the context of hambi, most people actually don’t use ACAB but ACAD. While D stands for Dirks as is Dirk Weinspach, the police chief of NRW.
      —————————————
      > „We are fighting for your children“
      ————————————–
      that is a great chant. But it’s not at all a message addressing the structural problem of the police. I’m not sayn it should. It just perfectly does for what it is intended.

      —————————————————-
      > they are aware of their cognitive dissonance
      ————————————————
      I have seen this so often being said, that the police is not really wanting to do what they do, but that it’s just their job. When it comes to eviction in hambi, I saw most cops kind of enjoying what they do.
      Also when people hitting back at cops in self-defense, those that claim they just do their job, kind of never say “oh it’s just the job of those activists to hit cops”. So it’s not a logical, but an ideological position.

      —————————————————
      > but in order to flip it onto the right side, we have to be willing to include them and they have to understand how bad the situation really is.
      ————————————————-
      No, this is wrong again. You present one option out of many as being the only possibility we have.
      Another possibility is creating enough pressure that is forcing those in control to change, or otherwise loose control. The later would bring “us” into position of having the needed power to create the wished change. Diversity of tactics can help to create that pressure.
      ———————————————-
      > It is a choice to become a police member, lets not make the choice to stop being one harder than it has to be.
      ———————————————–
      Agree on that. But also stop wanting to make it easier to become a cop, which you seem to suggest to do. If one was an oppressor, one needs to unlearn that and to give support to what they did damage to.
      If those they did damage to are supported by not having a cop or one that worked for them around then it’s like that. Healing wounds takes time. And it’s not the one that created the wound to just define when it’s healed. Until then the ex-cop can do activities that can proof them to be an acceptable member of the community, such as reflecting on their miss takes, reflecting on what could be done that something similar will not be repeated and then work towards making this possible. …there’s only very few cops that do that. In my entire life, I only met one (and they also only had interest in themselves) And they feared to speak in public about their experience because of fearing violence from their ex-partners. (there’s this investigative podcast, that was doing research on police violence and also interviewing cops with their experience in breaking away from being a cop or speaking out, because of the violence that was protected by the state that was in use. You can listen to is here:
      “Täter in Uniform, Polizeigewalt in Deutschland”
      https://www.invidio.us/watch?v=F4onxGAc0a4 and as a reading version here: https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/tater-in-uniform-pdf.media.d356ed3c9ce129b1dc8c73ca4d1b69f7.pdf

      ——————————————–
      > but we are in the privileged situation right now, that we can build a big non-violent fundament
      ——————————————
      I don’t care about your privileges. You should be the one to take care of it, and also to reflect on it.

      —————————————-
      > People dont change in one day, give them some time – we need to be many.
      ————————————–
      1. yes
      2. we don’t have much time left

      .—————————————-
      > i greatly support other forms of action, pls do so too.
      ——————————————-
      I started the conversation with just this. You make it sound as I wouldn’t. Also:
      I was the one arguing how important diversity of tactics is, while giving reason why XR is against it.
      I’m thankful that you support other forms of action!!!

  5. I like the discussion, especially the arguments of the author of the article are very good.
    I don’t want to read this all again, but I think I agree in all points to the author.
    Especially that XR tries to see police as allies and that XR promotes arrests as a positive strategy sounds very strange to me.
    You could see a taxman positive for the same reasons (which barely anybody would do) and many people who take part in XR actions could have a bad awakening when they get arrested. This can indeed harm people which is beyond reason and responsible behaviour.

    What I’m very unsure about is if criticism of other organizations could help very much.
    I mean letting them do what they like to do and let them make their own experiences could be also an option.

    There are many reasons to also critcise other organizations (perhaps FFF) for various reasons. From my point of view eg. Greta Thunberg’s visit to the forest was nothing more than a media stunt.
    I think that criticism (especially over the internet) could increase isolation which I wouldn’t see positive.

    Of course, I see that the intention of the author is the opposite and is to discuss and help each other. But the perception could be differently (especially by members of the organizations you want to address).

    Also you can get criticism back in return which wouldn’t be a surprise because you sometimes act similar to a sect, too.
    Eg. speaking of the fucked up system: It’s a simple way to condemn the system and the police who is a very important factor to keep this alive.
    The system is also the common people and police gets its money from the taxpayers and also its legitamization by democratic laws (therefore also from the general public).
    So the „strategy“ to blame police and not additionally the general public in some way is too simple from my point of view.
    You also have to see that laws and taxes (as an instrument to internalize external costs) will be important factors to tackle environmental problems and this reflects even the position from Hambi activists.

    Therefore I don’t think that your excellent argumentation will have automatically positive effects.
    On the other hand seeing success as an afterthought and doing what the heart tells you are always things which lets people appear more sympathetic (which I think is also the reason why so many people have joined „Hambibleibt“ in some way).

  6. Also, personally, at some point after traumatising events involving police, I noticed that just seeing a police officer on the street caused massive reactions inside me, was so upset, wanted to attack them etc…
    This was actually not at all useful and was harming only me (and my ability to take action consciously rather than be forced into uncontrolled reaction). That was one point where I started to notice more clearly this pattern of manipulation and question what impacts it has on our movements and our effectiveness.

    So it seems to me important to separate things well, to keep the focus on the system as a whole, while still keeping an uncompromising criticism of the behaviour of the individuals within the police force. I dont reject them as people, or close myself to the possibility that they can change, but make it clear that their behaviour and their position is not at all acceptable. And of course, never to trust them in certain ways no matter what personal changes they may seem to be making, for as long as they remain in the police they are dangerous to us, they are a part of an institution that is our enemy, not by our definition but by theirs.

    Another aspect: Traumatisation, when not taken seriously and dealt with, can often lead to a rigidity, to being trapped in dogma, to a lack of the ability to adapt to the current situation but rather to act in certain pre-programmed ways.
    Often in our movements we don’t have/make the space to deal with our traumas, we just keep going and they can get buried. Really find it an interesting subject how it effects us as individuals and as movements, how it effects our actions and our groups. Also having seen often outbreaks of internal violence after traumatic times.
    There is so much to explore in this territory, its really complex!

  7. the quote from the book „the failure of nonviolence“ seems to contain an error that got corrected. The corrected version sounds as:

    „The violent conflicts that they include in their study come from a completely different source: [primarily] lists of armed conflicts with over 1,000 combatant deaths.“

    Befor the word „primarily“ was missing. The arguments and critic still hold true. thx to XR Köln for pointing out that error.

  8. Pacifists contribute to keeping intact this „status quo“ you all discussing. I’d kill them if given the chance. Diversity of… opinions? Okay point made, peace!

    No, just kidding, you shout some peace slogans, I’ll go with a knife through your vocal chords.

  9. Have you considered inivting Greta Thunberg to gain more publicity for your cause? I think that would tremendously improve how the public will perceive your organisation!

    XOXO, stay woke!

  10. Read this and must say you have a lot of good points and yes the police is bad in a lot of ways and is represive suppprting the system and status quo but at the same time ,I am sorry to say this, you are lucky in Germany. In other places where the police does not exist those coal people would have paid militias that would have put a bullet in your head long before you even got the idea te really rebel.

    I am not saying that there isn’t a better way without police but it can also be way worse.

    1. > I am sorry to say this, you are lucky in Germany. In other places where the police does not exist those coal people would have paid militias that would have put a bullet in your head long before you even got the idea te really rebel.

      It is true that in germany we’re in a very privilidged position. I do acknowledge this. And on that base of acknowledgment it is the logical consequence that people in different circumstances should adopt their strategy towards it, rather then following an unified universal truth as XR is proposing.

      What is also true and also shortly mentioned in the text if I remember correct:
      The police is at the frontline killing people. Same as the military. There’re many cases in brasil for example where military/police engaged in mass murder against climate/social/enviromental activists.

  11. I personally have mad respect for the catalan people for not having responded with violence to the brutal police oppression during the referendum.

    1. remember that village in catalonia where people responded with violence, and it made cops to leave their space. They didn’t resieved that violence as many others that responded with passivism.
      What’s so much better in being beaten up compared to no-one being really beaten up?
      If you would be against violence, you would choose the option that is causing the least.

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