Finally, a rebellion against Extinction Rebellion

Commuters of London, rise up against the eco-elitists!

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Politics UK

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The people are rising up against the elites. No, I don’t mean Extinction Rebellion. I mean the Rebellion against Extinction Rebellion. Today’s clashes on the Tube between the commuting working classes and the time-rich, bourgeois fearmongers of the XR cult is a wonderful illustration of the elitist nature of eco-politics and of rising public fury with the eco-agenda.

For more than a week now the XR elitists have been disrupting everyday life. They’ve stopped flights from taking off, preventing people from going on well-earned holidays or visiting loved ones abroad. They’ve clogged up roads in city centres, irritating cab drivers and people on buses. And they’ve stormed Smithfield meat market and Billingsgate fish market – smug middle-class vegans lecturing hard-working traders about the correct way to think and live.

But today their sneering campaigning went too far. Today they disrupted the Tube. Yes, this mass, largely electric public-transport system used by millions of people is the latest target of these arrogant disrupters of the masses’ lives. And people got pissed off. Really pissed off.

Across the Tube system commuters confronted the XR irritants. In one videoed scene a commuter can be heard asking about people who have hospital appointments to keep. What about them? ‘The point is…’, replies a plummy XR protester, no doubt about to launch into a snooty green lecture for the little people, but she gets cut off by other angry commuters. One points out that the train she has glued herself to is electric. Why target this transport system? ‘Are you guys really THAT fucking stupid?’, he asks. ‘That’s why you ain’t got jobs…’

On the Tube train I was on the driver announced a delay ‘due to protests’. Cue an enormous groan from the teeming train-riders. In Canning Town an angry crowd of working people even dragged XR protesters off the top of a Tube train. The sight of one of the protesters kicking at the commuters to prevent them from reaching him really showed how nasty and contemptuous of the public these green extremists have become. This is the reactionary middle classes insulting and assaulting ordinary people – horrible.

Some leftists and greens have been shocked by today’s rebellion against Extinction Rebellion. They’re saying XR should change tactics. But the problem here isn’t tactics – no, this ugly, elitist inconveniencing of ordinary people represents the actual content of XR’s outlook. It captures the fundamentals of this movement, which is a backward-looking, anti-progress, anti-people outfit. Today’s XR sneering at working people wasn’t a mistaken tactic – it was the essence of environmentalism.

The idea that XR must now change tack to try to win over more working people is ridiculous. People reject this elitist movement. They reject its alarmism, its snobbery, its anti-humanism, and its demands for crippling austerity. We saw that today. Commuters’ message was ‘Fuck Extinction Rebellion’. And that’s a positive, progressive, forward-looking political demand we can organise around.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

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Topics Politics UK


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