Finally, a rebellion against Extinction Rebellion

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

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics UK

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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Shaggy Cotton

24th October 2019 at 2:14 pm

At first, I thought this article was brilliant satire…

Politicising the protests and their role of bringing light to the self destruction of humanity is incredibly short sighted. Yes, it’s a shame they all still look like extras in the Wombles… but someone’s got to do it. And it’s working. Fuck the people trying to get to work. Got sick relatives? Find another way to the hospital that will be inundated in the not too distant future if we, and the spineless “leaders” of the world, still see the protests as a class issue. You also insult those working classes across the country that agree with the protests.

Ebberman Jones

27th October 2019 at 5:01 am

“but someone’s got to do it.” – No, not true. You are suffering from the same delusion. All your “knowledge”, and mine and everybody else’s, comes from suspect sources. You have unquestioningly swallowed it all.

Gerry Delasel

22nd October 2019 at 11:57 am

Seeing those commuters pull the XR protesters off that train was genuinely heartwarming, although I must confess to a little schadenfreude at seeing London so inconvenienced. When I think of ‘the working class’ I think of people outside the smug, well-funded, metro-friendly south-east. It’s kinda nice to see London self destruct, sometimes.

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