Running Out Of Time: Extinction Rebellion

Disabled Rebels Plan for Action, write Sandra Daniels and Bob Williams-Findlay

It started on Monday October 7th, Extinction Rebellion and allied movements will gather in major cities across the globe and continue to rebel against the world’s governments for their criminal inaction on the Climate and Ecological Crisis. In the United Kingdom, a central focus will be Westminster in London, and Extinction Rebellion Disabled Rebels are attempting to ensure the current Rebellion is as inclusive as possible. Disabled Rebels believe it is vital that disabled people are supported in taking non-violent direct action to highlight the impact of climate change because as a social group disabled people will be among the groups to pay the highest price if this campaign fails.

Working across Extinction Rebellion, Disabled Rebels have been working to provide accessible toilets on activity sites, providing training for stewards around disability related issues and organising a Disability Hub where disabled people can go for information, advice and support. Engaging in a rebellion isn’t without risks, therefore, the Rebels have been working alongside Deaf Rebels to develop specific British Sign Language signs for Deaf people and XR Legal Team in order to ensure they can communicate if a threat of arrest develops. The Disabled Rebels are also using social media to encourage disabled people who might want to participate in the Rebellion to undertake non-violent direct action. The plan is for the Disability Hub to have a multi-purpose area where disabled people can gather, build a sense of community, and help take disability culture right into the heart of Extinction Rebellion.

Disabled Rebels have been frantically working also with nondisabled rebels to put in place an infrastructure that is inclusive in design, but time is running out as a thousand and one detailed plans are being pulled together. Through the still relatively small network of dedicated disabled rebels actions have already begun to make sure disabled people’s issues are understood, not just as part of the October Rebellion, but are fed into the discussions around needing a system change that’s inclusive.

Both disabled and non-disabled rebels are risking arrest and putting their ordinary lives on hold because they believe:

The society in which we have grown up forgot who we were, but we are now remembering, that we are and were always part of nature. We are out of time, Business as Usual is over, the space of truth telling and acting has begun. A new season of Rebellion is about to begin, it is our moral duty to find the courage to act and to come together to create a new vision for the world where care for our collective wellbeing is once again in line with caring for the Earth.”

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