How Extinction Rebellion Aids Counter-Insurgency & Legitimises Police Violence

In the wake of civil rights era activism, states and Police around the globe have rapidly developed and widely utilised methods of Counter-Insurgency against every popular movement threatening to create a more just, and equitable world. Some movements have gained legal and political concession, some even mild victory – while most have led to an influx of political prisoners and repressed citizens. With extensive documents available that describe and outline Counter-Insurgency tactics, it is possible for us to analyse the actions taken by movements to understand their impact and likelihood for generating lasting change.

Counter-insurgency (COIN) are military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government. It is an umbrella term that describes the complete range of measures that governments take to defeat rebellions

Many would assume that peaceful activists have nothing to fear from Police, or that these activists would not be considered targets for repression. Though, to their surprise the definition given by bodies enforcing counter-insurgency clearly stipulate: Any element of society deemed a threat to the state’s monopoly of power is classified as insurgency. This includes scholars, students, authors, journalists, peaceful protesters, activists, organised workers, civilian support structures, and guerilla elements. These groups without discrimination, and with great prejudice, are all addressed through the lens of counter insurgency tactics by Police.

It is becoming increasingly alarming how movements like Extinction Rebellion (XR), without a proper understanding of Counter-Insurgency unknowingly aid COIN operations, and state violence.

This article is an analysis of how Extinction Rebellion – despite their best intentions – aid counter-insurgency and legitimise Police violence.

Legitimising Systems Of Domination

Extinction Rebellion are known to film themselves committing ‘crimes’, waiting to be arrested, complying and collaborating with the very oppressors they claim to oppose. There is a hard-line stance that any other tactics are unacceptable in or out of XR, paired with the utter refusal to re-evaluate their techniques. This leaves no room and often even creates a dangerous environment for marginalised groups to become involved, contributing to division that benefits only the state and white supremacy.

While the majority of activists involved with Extinction Rebellion may have no official affiliation with the state or its organs, their ideals mirror those which give the governing body legitimacy and control. The logic behind XR’s proposed strategy originates from positions of privilege. Their strategy being to confer with politicians for mild reform, and seeking compromise rather than addressing and abolishing root causes for systemic issues; the state and its organs. Proving only to allow the culprits of climate destruction opportunities to legitimise, expand, and evolve into more subtle methods of operation, which become more difficult to combat.

As a consequence, only people who have adequate resources and privilege can partake in the struggle for liberation. It is not realistic for anyone who is not white, with a stable house and finances to put themselves in a position where they are forced to be brutalised, arrested, and attend court. This strategy of playing within the system aids the state’s ability to quell dissent and manage resistance, rather than generating any real threat to the systems of domination.

Transforming Support Into Manageable Resistance

Intersectionality is the acknowledgement that all struggles for liberation are intertwined – how would it be possible to achieve climate justice without decolonisation? Or, animal rights without addressing private property? A lack of intersectionality means splitting resistance into smaller concentrated niche struggles which become much easier for police to map, manage, and pacify.

A symptom of one-dimensional struggle is the creation of static organisations – where only a single issue is addressed and all other issues are ignored as insignificant or irrelevant. This also makes easy work of promoting compromise to divide popular movements. This is when legal changes are made or political representation is given to a movement to pacify its majority. If the states of the world would agree to a simple concession, for example – signing the Paris agreement – portions of activists and their support networks would claim victory and pacify their resistance. Others would understand the root causes for the climate crisis have still not been addressed, and continue to struggle in a drastically weaker network of activists.

By ignoring intersectionality and seeking reform rather than the total destruction of oppressive and ecologically catastrophic structures in their entirety, the movement is weakened to the whims of politics – a game the state will always win.

Negligence of Operational Security & Security Culture

Security culture refers to the set of values, shared by everyone in an organisation, that determine how people are expected to think about and approach security. XR’s affinity for “civil disobedience” type actions leads them to the understanding that police and government will look upon them favourably – thus assuming operational security is entirely unnecessary. In fact this misconception only makes them easier targets for surveillance and repression.

A lack of security culture means a staggeringly more difficult blockage to upward growth. Coupled with police infiltration, intelligence gathering and sabotage becoming increasingly simple. Police can then generate catalogues of activist identities, track them, and identify them without hindrance. For the Police, this means risk assessment and control are no longer complex operations, maximising the control the state holds over the movement and actions by activists. Ultimately, through presumed ignorance XR allows a database of activists identities to be collected and used for spycop operations. Being known to the Police increases the risk of repression, and can limit your ability to further the struggle against capitalism in more meaningful and impactful ways – suffocating the movement as it exits the gate.

Dogmatic Non-violence

Exclusive and dogmatic non-violence works to self-police a movement from taking any effective autonomous forms of resistance. Extinction Rebellion demand all activists strictly adhere to their set of outlined principles; dictating to black communities, and wider society the ‘best’ and ‘only’ way to fight for their own liberation. This conclusively benefits the state, patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism.

If continued without redirection, XR risks white-washing the history of militant resistance within every social movement to date; specifically people of color during the civil rights movement, or the armed anti-colonial movements in India against British rule. All of whom relied on a diversity of tactics in their struggles against oppression.

Diversity of tactics is a strategy of planning an action to have the most effective impact based on your goals – rather than relying blindly on cookie cutter techniques of the past. By ignoring the importance of a diversity of tactics, XR push themselves into an isolated corner of ideological ineffectiveness, and in doing so perpetuate ideals that do great amounts of harm to these communities. Dogmatic non-violence creates a division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ activists, which contributes to COIN objectives.

Even if, right now in as you read these words, the government implemented every single policy and legislation XR demand – it would still not be enough to mitigate the catastrophic effects of the climate crisis. We need to acknowledge the ineffectiveness of the tools currently being wielded in order to learn new ways of struggling against the conglomerates who currently commit ecocide without consequence.

Where nonviolence flourishes, so does the state and counter-insurgency. Rather than relying on uninvolved politicians to take up governmental alteration, direct action and diversity of tactics hold the key for activists who seek to make lasting change.

Political Cult of Personality

The glorification of XR, activism, and social justice has led to the gentrification of struggle. What was once students raising awareness has morphed into a personality cult of white activists dressing up to film their street performances.

The premise of XR began with white academics who centred their activism in their belief of the martyr spectacle to affect mainstream media, and in turn, public consciousness. Prominent white activists, utilising social capital consistently put themselves in positions of leadership where they work to become somewhat irreplaceable. Contrary to their doctrine, they do not generate networks of autonomous groups capable of interchangeable roles. The substance of XR lies in the swathes of these activists competing for the world to view them as audacious rebels; when in reality they have become no more than instagram obsessed spokespersons reaping the social benefits from the creation of a personality cult.

XR somehow became the loudest voice in the room, and still hasn’t helped a thing – proving no amount of awareness alone can positively influence the climate crisis, contributing considerably to the dilution of resistance into privileged grovelling; pacifying a well intended movement.

In Conclusion

XR as a movement has existed since 2018, and through their initial actions they have achieved great amounts of awareness towards the destruction of our environment by profit-driven entities that are protected by the state. They have simultaneously, through a complete unwillingness to evaluate strategy and its impact, alienated themselves from their own goals of ending climate destruction. A conscious, and complete recalculation of involvement, strategies, tactics, and goals might be the only saviour for the activists still acting under XR’s banner. Without drastic action against the state and it’s apparatus, Extinction Rebellion will only succeed in aiding Counter-Insurgency and violent repression.

Returning from hiatus

Hi all, hope you are well, or as well as can be in these times of chaos!

We just wanted to put this post here to announce that London GAF is back! We’re sorry that we’ve been away for most of 2021. The pandemic took a toll on everyone as people needed to step back to take time for self care and personal health – or just self reflection – as well as dedicating their finite capacity for activist work on more urgent projects, like mutual aid. We have also been working out what direction we wanted to take this project and who wanted to remain involved.

We believe that care for ourselves and our comrades, as well as considered reflection is important, which is why we might be slower in our responses and take breaks from our activity as and when it becomes necessary to keep this group running sustainably.

Now that we’re back we really want to start things moving again, reconnect with our local community and reenergise the anti-capitalist struggle for the environmentalist perspective. We hope to do this by building up coalitions of local activists into wider assemblies which should offer an opportunity for us to get insight into new campaigns and struggles. Our aim is to give ourselves and others direction in how to get back out there, post-pandemic and start organising again.

Keep an eye on the page and elsewhere as we start putting ourselves back into the fight and send us a message if you would like to get involved, want to bring our attention to a particular cause, or would just like to say hi!

How to Make Your Activism More Accessible to Younger Comrades: A Guide by FSA

Activism in the UK suffers from a lack of accessibility and diversity. Our comrades from Full Stop Action have put together this nifty guide on how to make your activism more accessible to younger comrades. Read it, share it, follow it!

(You can also find it as a pdf on the website in the Pamphlet and Zines sub-section of the Media section)

Guide under here

Full Stop Affinity’s Final Statement

Our friends in Full Stop Affinity, a youth liberation anarchist environmentalist affinity group of trans people that organises under the Green Anti-capitalist Front and the Youth Liberation Front, have sent us their final statement previous to their disbandment as a group. This will be followed in the next few days with a post compiling reports from all their actions during their time of activity. It’s sad to see this group come to an end, but we know that wherever they go next, they’ll continue to be a pain in the ass for the state, capitalism, transphobes and the established left.

From all of us involved in Full Stop Affinity we would like to thank groups that have continuously supported us. We’re sad to disband but recognise it is the best thing to do. This project has outlived it’s usefulness. All our actions will be up on the Green Anti-Capitalist Front website. All our social medias will be taken down in a week. In this final statement we would like to note some thing this project has made us notice.

“The Left” in London is disastrous.

read the whole statement here

Further advice on how to participate in the Mayday Bingo

We listened to the objections and worries in relation to our original Mayday Bingo callout and in response we have amended it and added clarifications and advice. Please let us know if you have ant further misgivings or comments, as we are all in the process of learning from each other and working to improve.

To clarify the #MayDayBingo, you choose your own actions, big or small; the bingo card is just to encourage actions against more varied targets. Keep the state on its toes!

We also recognise that it’s a terrible idea to send evidence of a crime to a group you don’t know much about. We clearly misjudged that. So, to keep it safe and simple, we’re scrapping the competition, but you can still play! And we’ll post a sexy meme on 15th May, when the game officially ends. Everybody wins!

If you’d like to play, you could use our bingo card to run a game in your city or just with your affinity group or a couple of friends! Feel free to cross out boxes on the card, share it amongst comrades, or post it online if that’s safe.

If you’re keen to share a particularly fun action with the world but don’t want to put it on your own account, we’d be happy to share it on ours! Below is some advice for safely sending us your report or photo. Remember to never send us (or anyone) evidence of a crime unless you’re confident it can’t get you in trouble! And let us know if/how you’d like to be credited!

Your actions can be completely legal

Remember, not all actions are illegal!

  • Organising a freeshop is an action against waste.
  • Handing out anti-fascist literature is an action against fascism.
  • Offering childcare so comrades with kids can go to a demo or organising meeting is a great action against any of our targets.
  • Persuading your neighbours to switch to a more ethical energy supplier could be an action against nuclear energy.
  • Publishing an article in your student newspaper can be an action.

How to report actions without incriminating yourself 101

If you want to share any of your actions with us, especially if it’s anything illegal, here’s some advice to make that safer:

  1. If you’re going to take photos, wait until you’re confident you’ve gotten away with it.
  2. Preferably, don’t be in the photo. If you must be, make sure you’re heavily disguised.
  3. Don’t report until you’re safe and far away from the site of the action.
  4. Remove metadata from photos and blur out any faces, identifiable clothes, tattoos, etc.
  5. Use a secure email, a VPN, and TOR browser.
  6. Use a pseudonym.

Stay safe, have fun

Mayday Bingo


This Mayday, to get us all back into the habit of going out into the great outdoors and doing cool shit again, – but also to remind us all how we can achieve more if we all work together – we are issuing an open challenge to participate in our Mayday Bingo. What better way is there to anticipate the easing of lockdown than by participating in a bit of friendly competitive activism while having fun?

The main aim of the game is for us all to win collectively. We do that by everyone contributing towards crossing out all the targets on the bingo card. Also the higher the sum total of all the points awarded to all the participants is at the end, the bigger our collective success.

Because everyone likes a good competition, individual groups will also be awarded points and we will also announce a final score board so everyone can gloat or lick their wounds in a comradely way.

In order to give everyone a nice big heads up and plenty of time to plot and carry out your actions, the competition will run from the 1st to the 15th of May.

details under here

Anti-Colonial Squat in Amsterdam Brutally Evicted. Activist Almost Murdered by Riot Police

We’ve received another action report from our friends of the Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam. This time they squatted a building to raise awareness and directly challenge the colonial and racist past and present of Netherlands. In response the riot police not only brutally evicted them but attempted to murder one of them. We present bellow their own account of the events followed by the original statement they released after occupying the building.

Solidarity with the Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam! Death to the racist colonialist capitalist patriarchal state and the enforcers of its violence! ACAB all around the world!

What happened at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 136

This is going to be personal, this is going to be emotional.

We are people with feelings, with political convictions, with longing for freedom. Our struggle and our wounds are written and felt in our bodies. We are angry and we are sad, we are tired and we are determined. Evictions are public spectacles, collective traumas. Certain people are to blame. So we will name them and we will shame them.

Continue reading “Anti-Colonial Squat in Amsterdam Brutally Evicted. Activist Almost Murdered by Riot Police”

Action Report: Anarcha-feminists in Amsterdam say #KillTheBill

We’ve received an action report from our friends of the Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam in solidarity with the Resist Anti-Trespass Day of Action. You can see the photos and read their statement bellow.

Today , on the 23rd of March, Anarcha-Feminist Group Amsterdam, takes action in solidarity with those resisting the new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill in the UK.

The repressive and authoritarian Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, criminalises the act of protests, as well as any attempt to trespass with the intention to reside. On top of destroying basic rights to resist the racist sexist police state, this bill criminalises the lives of already vulnerable and discriminated groups of people: especially no fixed abode communities. We stand in solidarity with Roma people and travellers, with squatters, boaters, the homeless and anyone fighting back against this racist bill.

Private property is theft!
Everything for everyone!
Trespass the British Embassy!

Squatters Occupy Clapham Common Police Station

A group of squatters have occupied the former Clapham Common Police Station in London to demand the withdrawal of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the end of the femicide. Here’s their statement in full:

Squatters and autonomous activists have occupied the former Clapham Common Police Station to demand the withdrawal of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the end of the femicide recently highlighted by the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met police officer.

As the closest cop shop to where Sarah was last seen, the occupation of this building holds particular importance and meaning at this time. Although the bill has been postponed, we have to keep fighting it to ensure it does not pass. And in the meantime, violence against women continues. We must seize this moment where we find ourselves UNITED in rage, unified in our fight against the ongoing global femicide and to remember people like Sarah, Blessing Olusegun and countless others and to build our fight to end violence against women.

We also seek to bring attention to Section 4 of the Bill which criminalises trespass, a racist move by this Tory government which will affect predominantly travellers and van dwellers but also squatters, protest camps and the homeless. We hope that all those who resist the expansion of police powers in the Tories Bill will also join us in resisting any amended versions of that Bill which retain this racist attack which will make a travelling way of life almost impossible.

Last night, police attempted to intimidate us into leaving the building, stating that they did not care that this was a legally occupied building and that they would turn up in the morning full force to get us out. We called their bluff and continue to enforce our rights as squatters to occupy this empty building in political protest.

We invite all to come and help occupy the space, to discuss and share ideas and create networks of solidarity which will help us to resist this racist, authoritarian Bill, and just to use the space for whatever you need it for as we work to stop this Bill and end femicide!

In love, rage and solidarity,

The occupiers xx

Action Report: In Solidarity with Dimitris Koufontinas. London Sends its Regards to the New Democracy Party

During the last few weeks, Greek prisoner and hitman of the famous revolutionary organisation 17 November Dimitris Koufontinas went on a hunger strike to protest against the conditions the Greek state had him under. This inspired a series of solidarity protests all over the Greek state. These linked up with the increasing number of large protests that were being help to express the Greek people’s anger against the disastrous handling of the pandemic by the government, the increased authoritarianism of the police forces and the state, and the disillusionment with the entire conceit of capitalist democratic rule.

This is currently embodied by the New Democracy Party, which has been making use of the democratic structures and the state of exception during the pandemic to impose the kind of authoritarian measures most people associate with dictatorships. Seeing that the New Democracy party came to power on an extreme right platform and that, despite the Greek junta falling in 1974, many of its members and proponents are still alive and active within the state institutions (especially the police), this association is particularly real in Greece.

We shouldn’t see this as a break with the previous administrations, but rather a continuation and maybe a culmination of processes initiated long before the current government took power. They are the result of dynamics taking place in many other countries as the current world system approaches its end amid economical, social and ecological collapse and the ruling classes try to reconfigure its future. Including the UK under the Tories, who have escalated the level of police repression since the start of the Pandemic to the point where even peaceful protests have been forbidden. Furthermore, they are now seeking to enshrine these powers and authoritarian measures into law in the form of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Continue reading “Action Report: In Solidarity with Dimitris Koufontinas. London Sends its Regards to the New Democracy Party”