Extinction Rebellion is an extremist group

This green group is nuts. But that doesn't mean it should be included on any police lists.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics UK

The hissy fit over the inclusion of Extinction Rebellion on a police list of ‘extremist ideologies’ is hilarious. It is so obviously a case of protesting too much. ‘How dare you call us extremists!’, cry the leaders of this movement that says billions of people will die as a result of climate change and that the only way to stop this calamity is by putting a halt on modernity and forcing human beings to live in wigwams on a diet of nuts and seeds. Sorry, guys, but you can’t go around preaching that the end is nigh like a medieval self-flagellating cult and then moan about being called bonkers. If it walks like a nutter and quacks like a nutter, it’s probably a nutter.

This is the news that XR – last seen marching through London and warning its inhabitants that their use of motorcars and consumption of meat would cause billions of people to die – has been included in a coppers’ report about extremist activism. The report, collated by Counter Terrorism Policing South East, is designed to ‘[safeguard] young people and adults from ideological extremists’. Those ideological extremists include far-right groups like National Action, a couple of mad Islamist outfits, right-wing identitarian loons like Generation Identity, and Extinction Rebellion. Guess which listing has sent the chattering classes into meltdown? Yep, XR’s, which right-on types have described as an offence against good sense and liberty. Home secretary Priti Patel’s partial defence of the inclusion of XR in the list of extremists has further inflamed the debate. ‘How dare she!’, greens cry, echoing the messianic leader of their crazed death cult, Greta Thunberg.

There are two things to say about this controversy. The first is that the cops should not be drawing up lists like this at all. Police should only interfere with groups that have carried out violent acts or which are plotting to carry out violent acts. Every other political group should be left completely and utterly alone. They should not be monitored. They should be free to associate. And they should be free to march in public. That goes for the racist dweebs in Generation Identity, the Islamist hotheads in myopically anti-Western Islamo-groups, and the green hysterics of Extinction Rebellion. Freedom demands that these groups be allowed to organise and talk shit as they see fit. They should only be interfered with if there is a solid suspicion that they are crossing the line from agitation to violent action.

Strikingly, though, the hip pretend-liberals of the pro-XR lobby aren’t kicking up a fuss about the inclusion of, say, Generation Identity in this list of extremists. Even though Generation Identity has also not done anything terroristic. If you were a consistent liberal, someone who believed that every organisation and individual has the right to express themselves publicly and to protest publicly – as spiked believes – then you would be as outraged by GI’s inclusion on this McCarthyite list as you are by XR’s. But clearly, this isn’t about the principle of liberty – it’s about protecting the loons of the green cult from any kind of criticism or ridicule.

But here’s the thing: XR is extremist. It’s about as extremist as it gets. It is a deranged, classist, authoritarian outfit that chants and sings about the end of the world and which lies – openly – about billions dying from climate change. It is anti-modern, anti-progress and anti-human. Its members dress in red and mope through the streets while wailing about meat-eating and industry. It depicts mankind as a plague on the planet and calls for the kinds of restrictions on modern life that would plunge vast swathes of society into darkness and penury. It is against industrialisation, against meaningful development and against comfort. These are extremist ideas.

Should it be watched and censured by the state? Absolutely not. Let the loons do whatever they want to do. Back off, cops. You too, Priti. But are they mental? Yes, they are. Totally mental.

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

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


botalap botalap

21st January 2020 at 4:33 pm

Make $125 per hour with your phone or laptop from …..www.mywork5.com

Mark Houghton

15th January 2020 at 5:02 pm

Any group should be allowed to exist regardless of their ideology, extremist (however that’s define and by who) but their members should be punished if they break the law of the land.

Ecgbert King

15th January 2020 at 11:30 am

XR are just the new Western version of the Khmer Rouge seeking to establish a Year Zero agrarian society, with no science, no intellectuals and advancement – and an awful lot of death and oppression.

Graham Woodford

14th January 2020 at 7:48 pm

Is this even journalism, characterising people whose fundamental principals are supported overwhelmingly by the scientific community, and scientific evidence, as nutters? In continuing to gaslight one of the leading characters in that movement? ‘Messianic leader of a death cult’. Now where have I heard that before.

Continue to do your ostrich act. In the meantime, try to do better to support your argument than by self-reverentially linking articles by other ‘spiked’ writers, who mysteriously, while claiming to be a free thinking happy band seem to represent a bit of cult themselves, if the remarkable similarity of views is anything to go by. Anyway, you can try, but you won’t find any scientific evidence to support your views that there is nothing of any concern, and something will turn up. Because there isn’t any.

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 9:23 pm

I’ve asked you before .. give us the science in your own words?

Kojak Kojak

15th January 2020 at 5:42 am

Yes it is journalism & bloody good & accurate journalism at that.

Graham Townsend

14th January 2020 at 7:13 pm

Every national science academy around the developed world has assessed the evidence for anthropogenic climate disruption, and issued statements endorsing the science.
I have a list of around 300 selected references to peer-reviewed research on climate change and it makes sobering reading.
We have clear warnings about the economic consequences of inaction from the Bank of England, Reserve Bank of Australia, The World Bank, IMF, the OECD, the global reinsurance industry and, increasingly, from major investment advisors.
We have warnings from NATO and (dammit) the Pentagon about the consequences for regional insecurity and mass migration.
Yet we still have this cargo-cult that promotes endless GDP growth, in defiance of the laws of physics – effectively a belief in perpetual motion.
We still have people choosing to sneer at protesters who actually give a damn about their kids’ future.
How selfish, how deliberately blind, how childish. How contemptible.

Graham Woodford

14th January 2020 at 7:49 pm


Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 9:24 pm

Your science in your own words please?

Graham Woodford

15th January 2020 at 10:44 am

I’m not sure what spurious point you are trying to make. I’m not a scientist. Neither is The author of this piece or any other of the Spiked ‘journalists’ and their colleagues elsewhere claiming to expose the myth of climate change. Are you, and what is your incontrovertible evidence otherwise?

Jerry Owen

16th January 2020 at 7:49 am

Graham Woodford.
As I thought.. as per usual a long winded post with no science.

Jerry Owen

16th January 2020 at 10:07 pm

Graham Woodford
Is Chris Packam a scientist ? Is David Attenborough a scientist ?
No they aren’t so therefore you can out your case can’t you .. or are you frit ?

Jerry Owen

16th January 2020 at 2:55 pm

‘300 selected references’ .. whoopy doo for you !
There are more scientists that do not believe in AGW.

Mark Bretherton

14th January 2020 at 10:40 am

Where do you draw the line with extemist groups being allowed to protest and causing harm? Having a pre-agreed march & rally I have no problem with, it gives us normal people something to laugh at. Blocking roads to hospitals, glueing themselves to trains (trains FFS!) and railway infrastructure, tresspassing on to airports & glueing themsleves to planes or launching drones over airports is incredibly dangerous to the general public and as such I have no problem with Plod or the security services keeing an eye on these loons.

steve moxon

13th January 2020 at 11:03 pm

It’s still so hard to believe that with the plethora of data back through all history way back even in geological time showing that changes in levels of atmospheric CO2 LAG (by hundreds of years) temperature changes, how did anybody ever fool anybody including themselves that CO” drove temperature when the data could not be clearer that temperature drives CO2?
The so-called climate scientists of the IPCC don’t seem even to have heard of the paradigm shift underway in astrophysics / cosmology to the electric plasma understanding of the universe, so no wonder they have no grasp at all of the electromagnetic modes of solar forcing. They still think the sun is a nuclear fusion reactor (it isn’t) and that the old gravitation-based theories of the universe are OK with 96% of predicted matter and energy being non-existent having to be deemed ‘dark’ (it isn’t: it really doesn’t exist, hence nobody being able to find it).
The implosion of the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis (and that’s all it is: it’s not got the status of a theory and there is no model — all predictions thus far have failed) is going to be quite something.

steve moxon

13th January 2020 at 11:12 pm

And, of course, even if there were any such thing as CO2-driven climate change, which certainly there is not, the proportion of CO2 contributed by human activity is in comparison to the other sources minuscule, which likewise would be impact of even the most draconian measures on CO2 levels. The upshot is that however you understand climate change, there is nothing to be done about it. It will continue to proceed in cycles within cycles, way beyond human control.

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 8:52 am

Steve Moxon
Even if the planet was getting warmer which is still open for debate ( not that debate is ever had ) as mark Steyn says ‘so what’?
Human civilizations thrive in warmer climates, such as the Roman Empire the Renaissance and many other epochs of high human endeavour, humans are far more productive when warm. We only have to look at our own activities in winter, nothing much gets done but come summer we are far more active and out and about.
As you say the earths C02 levels rise after the earth warms not vice versa, all of the geological evidence proves this, and this one .. yes, one fact alone ( there are many others of course ) destroys the whole AGW argument. We are continually told to believe the science .. science that is never forth coming.
Has Greta mentioned the science yet ?
Geological records show much catastrophism in the past from asteroids to volcanoes to ice ages to planetary flooding to pole reversals.. magnetic north is moving southwards at around forty miles a day and is in Alaska at present, the worry is that it will reach critical point and simply flip.
We should enjoy our time as best we can it won’t last forever.

Michael M

13th January 2020 at 8:59 pm

“They should only be interfered with if there is a solid suspicion that they are crossing the line from agitation to violent action”. I get Brendan’s point about freedom of assembly and protest, but how do you gain a solid suspicion that they are planning something bad? Ideology needs to be balanced with practicability


13th January 2020 at 6:57 pm

Edgelord Brendan O’Neill believes in something called ‘progress’. How quaint. XR may be a bunch of ‘nutters’ but doing nothing about environmental pollution and species loss is equally crazy.

Brandy Cluster

13th January 2020 at 10:01 pm

In principle, I agree, but you’re not telling the truth. Many nations, including Australia, signed up to Paris Accord and are meeting their targets. Our government won a ‘climate change’ election last May; the opposition wanted 45% reductions by 2030 and everybody to have electric cars. The people rejected that with both hands, particularly those people working in the Queensland coal mines who had families to feed. Australia contributes 1.3% and NGOs have got the hide to include our EXPORTED coal into that mix. A population of 24.5 million is not the world’s dominant culprit – those nations have been given leave passes.

Until we have measurable data which demonstrates the extent of global temperature reductions from Australia’s actions (which our Chief Scientist said would be ‘zero’) people are not going to fall for eco-evangelism, fanaticism and declines in our living standard.

It might interest you to know that Australia has the 5th highest standard of living in the world, with the top 4 above it having roughly equivalent populations. Jealousy always stirs shouting and bullying. And this is all about bullying; if it were not people would say, ‘you have a reasonable argument about KPIs and climate mitigation – especially when your economy is exposed’.


13th January 2020 at 11:05 pm

Interesting, if angry, post.

Ven Oods

14th January 2020 at 1:12 pm

Not as interesting as you finding it ‘angry’.
I agree with your point about doing nothing being crazy, but when the biggest polluters are also the most powerful and numerous nations, how do you make them agree? They all turn up and sign the accords, and then a few years later, we find out that they’ve done nothing of note on climate.
Australia is said to be suffering from climate-change-engendered bush fires, yet there are almost 200 folk arrested on suspicion of arson. How do we protect ourselves from that?

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 8:54 am

Environmental pollution is being tackled extremely well.
Do you blame Brexit for pollution btw ?

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 9:28 am

That was in response to ZP.

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 9:09 am

C02 does not cause pollution carbon particulates cause pollution.

David George

13th January 2020 at 6:06 pm

A dangerous millennialist cult? Certainly the ravings of it’s founders and activists qualify.
I’ve just finished reading and can recommend a good book on this; an exploration of the fundamentally anti-human nature of the environmental movement: The Green Reich by Drieu Godefridi:

“Ban everything we can, eco-tax the rest: this could be the motto of the environmentalists in politics. If human CO2 is the problem, then Man must be restrained, controlled, suppressed in every one of his CO2-emitting activities: that is to say, in the totality of his actions. Researching environmentalism from the root of its anti-humanist ethic to the staggering heights of its actual demands — banning cars, aircraft, meat, nuclear energy, rural life, the market economy, modern agriculture, in short, post-Industrial-Revolution modernity — shows that environmentalism defines a more radical ideology in its liberticidal, anti-economic and ultimately humanicidal claims than any totalitarian ideology yet seen. “Dividing humanity by a factor of ten” is the environmentalist ideal.”

Jerry Owen

13th January 2020 at 5:43 pm

XR will of course revel in the new status they have been given. They can now claim to be anti establishment, a threat to the system, an edgy group, the rest of us see them for the moronic loons the really are.
The naive student sock puppets are probably wetting themselves with excitement over this.

Jonnie Henly

13th January 2020 at 5:41 pm

This puts a pretty big dent in Spiked’s claims that Extinction Rebellion are supported by, or even outright part of, the establishment.

Establishment groups don’t find themselves on lists such as these. You’ll have to drop that narrative now.

Mark Lambert

13th January 2020 at 5:30 pm

They have to be watched in some way. They ignore the rules of what they call “peaceful protest” and shutdown parts of cities that was not expected. They disrupt travel etc, all in order to damage the economy. So watch them, all of the time.

Snake Oil Pussy

13th January 2020 at 10:30 pm

They shut down only a small part of central London, which gets attention from politicians because it’s where they happen to work.


14th January 2020 at 1:05 pm

We should shut down the whole of London – permanently!

K Tojo

13th January 2020 at 5:28 pm

O’Neill underestimates the power and influence of the green activists. He seems to think that letting XR carry on with their evangelical mission will effectively give them enough rope to hang themselves. If only that were true. Both the political and media class have taken too much eco-propaganda as though it were well researched scientific fact. Add to this the suppression of dissenting “denier” views and the concepts of climate emergency and climate catastrophe have come to be seen immanent threats we should all be working desperately to prevent.

The general critism of Extinction Rebellion as seen on the BBC and Sky News is that their methods are a bit extreme. I have seen no serious questioning of the hopelessly destructive future they propose for us. I suspect that those non-activists who give XR an approving nod have no idea of what is really at stake.

Brandy Cluster

13th January 2020 at 10:03 pm

Nutters like this, and the Left, seem to be winning the arguments – but they’re LOSING the elections. Donald Trump knew this before anybody else.

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 12:00 pm

B Cluster
It is the left that claim they are winning the arguments, no one else.
I would suggest they are being roundly defeated in elections because their arguments are being rejected.

Jim Lawrie

13th January 2020 at 10:23 pm

The political and urban elite will, unquestioningly, latch onto anything that offers authority linked to an ideology whose first premise is that it cannot be questioned.

I recently did a search on burning driftwood. The deluge of “do not”, backed up by pseudoscience, gave the impression that I was considering gassing the entire town in which I live. Myself included. It is well over 40yrs since I did chemistry at school. But even so, I could tell it was a load of guff.

Snake Oil Pussy

13th January 2020 at 10:34 pm

Wrong. Dissenting denier views are always given equal weight in the broadcast media, especially the BBC. No matter that the balance of views among scientists is around 97-3, the contest is always one on one.

steve moxon

13th January 2020 at 10:47 pm

Snake oil by name, snake oil by nature.


13th January 2020 at 11:06 pm

That’s a heck of a handle you got there, friend!

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 8:59 am


James Knight

13th January 2020 at 5:25 pm

The nut-job, swivel-eyed loons are in the mainstream. Take this recent article in the Guardian climate science section. It is a campaign for the extinction of the human race:


Next week in The Guardian, how the planet benefited from the Mongol hordes and how Pol Pot “did not go far enough”.

K Tojo

13th January 2020 at 8:58 pm

Extraordinary Guardian piece. A ludicrous deathwish looking forward to the extinction of the human race so that animals can have a better life. Almost reads like a spoof. Deeply depressing.

The piece is followed by the usual Guardian begging message – and a pledge that “the Guardian will not stay quiet” – fat chance of that.

Brandy Cluster

13th January 2020 at 10:04 pm

“The Guardian” has a right to publish what it will, just as we have a right to call it by its right name – the new face of political extremism.

Jerry Owen

14th January 2020 at 9:01 am

Australians died in the bush fires, the bush was not allowed to be burned or cleared so that wildlife could keep its habitat. Australia has put animals before humans.
It’s already started.

cliff resnick

13th January 2020 at 4:36 pm

Oh Mr Plod! what are you thinking?

cliff resnick

13th January 2020 at 4:38 pm

Or is that Mrs Plod!


13th January 2020 at 4:30 pm

XR Is a cult. And we all know what happens with cults.

If they just protested and not made a nuisance of themselves then I would agree, leave them alone. But their game is to disrupt and cause trouble. If they do not get their way some members may decide a more radical approach may be called for. Then someone somewhere will be asking questions why were these, now terrorists, not monitored ?

Jim Lawrie

13th January 2020 at 4:46 pm

Yes. Invariably the leader bangs the whole lot of them and empties their bank accounts.


13th January 2020 at 11:06 pm

You’re thinking of BoJo!

steve moxon

13th January 2020 at 11:18 pm

The former, certainly.
It’s the whole point of cults.
You would think that folk would look up the literature on the phenomenon before getting screwed by it, but then the secret of a credible cult leader is to con folk it’s not a cult.

Brandy Cluster

13th January 2020 at 10:07 pm

Yes, cults end up drinking the cool aid. Look no further than Jonestown. There’s a strong degree of self-loathing in cults, and a desperate need to belong. Not for them the ordinary path or work, family and reward – despite their stated ideologies. They are set apart from the mainstream by their hatred.

And it’s very worthwhile remembering that if you HAVE nothing then nothing will be at stake for you in the new world order. Water finds its own level.

Dominic Straiton

13th January 2020 at 4:08 pm

Extinction rebellion is at best a useless post punk, non entity movement of losers. Roger Hallam aint Malcolm McLaren. They are a here today gone tomorrow trend.Soon to be forgotten and abandoned as the climate isnt devastated by plant food co2 or even volcanoes. Over in Oz the well filmed and documented “disaster” that only our own world can make up isnt on the same level as the unfilmed one in 1974. “ever thought youve been cheated” (John Lydon)

steve moxon

13th January 2020 at 11:33 pm

Yes: where now is Occupy?
— I had to look up the name miself; I’d forgotten.
First heard of in September 2011; on the way out even by January 2012; last heard of in summer 2013, bar a few hundred Bernie Sanders supporters using the tag at some event in 2016.
It’s a fast-crashing business is protest-movement-by-daft-name.

Ven Oods

14th January 2020 at 1:20 pm

“Extinction rebellion is at best a useless post punk, non entity movement of losers.”

Yes; but if you like dressing up and painting your face white, it’s the go-to gig. Looks like a mime school just got evicted from their meeting room and didn’t have time to change back into their work clothes.

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