What an amazing month it’s been. In towns and cities around the world, millions of people have taken to the streets to demand action to save our future on this beautiful planet. Consciousness of the climate and ecological crisis is growing, pressure on governments is mounting, and amidst it all, we are working harder than ever.
In just a few days’ time, we will be in Madrid, taking part in our largest nonviolent direct action yet. But before we set off, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the truly inspiring things XR Barcelona rebels have done this month, both on the streets and behinds the scenes:
From the 20-27 September, millions of citizens across the world took part in the Global Climate Strike convened by Fridays For Future. It was the week we’d all been waiting for, and more importantly, working towards! From giving talks on the climate crisis to organizing artivism sessions, poster-making, flyering, actions, performances and strike logistics, XR Barcelona rebels came out in force to support our friends at Fridays For Future in getting as many people to join the Global Climate Strike as possible. And it worked: on Friday 27 September, after a week of awareness-raising activities, an estimated 100,000 people marched in Barcelona to demand action for the planet, bringing with them a new wave of hope. You can watch a video of the protest here.
While many of us were preparing for the march on Friday 27 September, members of five of Barcelona’s environmental activism groups were meeting with the city’s mayor, Ada Colau. Representatives from XR, Fridays For Future, Families For Future, Climacció and the Moviment per la Justícia Climática met with Colau to discuss seven feasible measures that, as a collective, we have proposed she implement during her current term as mayor to fight the climate and ecological crisis in Barcelona. You can read our response to the meeting here.
On Sunday 22 September, Barcelona celebrated a “day without cars,” which as you may have guessed, saw many cars still entering the city. In response, rebels from XR Barcelona joined with members of Fridays For Future to block Avinguda Meridiana for one hour, with some rebels holding the front line while others took part in some peaceful activities behind. Click here to watch the video.
Not all actions need hundreds of rebels: sometimes a small, bold group can make a big impact just by using their voice. That’s what happened on 17 September, when seven XR Barcelona rebels interrupted the inauguration of Repsol’s first sponsored professorship at the Universitat de Barcelona. The rebels took to the stage unannounced at the start of the event to read a statement condemning Repsol for ecocide, and criticizing the university for opening its doors to the petro giant.
On 9 September, rebels from XR Barcelona and XR Madrid teamed up to protest outside the Congress of Deputies in the Spanish capital. Two rebels stood in nooses at the gallows atop melting blocks of ice, symbolising the future that awaits us if we don’t act to avert the climate emergency. In addition to the performative protest, the rebels delivered a petition for immediate climate action signed by 1000 people to the Congress registry.
XR Barcelona’s Speaking Committee has been doing extraordinary work this month, giving talks about the climate and ecological crisis across Barcelona and beyond. The talks put forward the scientific facts of our situation and tackle a variety of themes such as the future of work and its impact on the crisis, regenerative culture and its dynamics, eco-socialism, mass mobilization and the values and methodology of XR. These talks play a fundamental role in informing the public about the crisis and inspiring more people to get involved. If you want to use your voice for XR Barcelona, make yourself known in the group chat – new speakers are always wanted, and no experience is needed!
The Art Committee has been an unstoppable force this month, with twice-weekly flag and t-shirt stamping sessions for rebels to make protest materials, as well as a special workshop dedicated to mask making with paper maché. One artistic rebel inspired us all with their beautiful mural painted near a local school, while XR Barcelona’s Blue Brigade was out night after night meeting the public at strategic locations to spread the word about the rebellion. Didn’t we say they were unstoppable?
It’s been a musical month in XR Barcelona. On 15 September, a group of rebels – many without any percussion experience – took part in an Ecobatucada workshop in Glòries, creating their own instruments from recycled materials and learning some rhythms. The group then joined Greenpeace’s eco-drummers to make some noise during the protest on 27 September. Then on 30 September, the all-new XR Barcelona choir held its first meeting, in which rebels learned a variety of songs perfect for peaceful protest. If you’re keen to get involved in the musical side of the rebellion, raise your voice in the group chat!
The Welcome and Training Committee has had a busy month welcoming new rebels into the fold in time for the International Rebellion in Madrid. The Committee gave four welcome meetings in four weeks, in addition to a weekend of workshops about regenerative culture and rebellion, in which rebels were able to learn important techniques and dynamics such as non-violent communication, how to avoid burnout, listening and shared reflection, digital security, and much, much more.
This month, the Action Committee has held four training sessions on nonviolent direct action (ADNV), the core methodology behind the Extinction Rebellion movement. The training sessions are a chance to learn the basics of ADNV, why it works for XR, what techniques exist, the legal questions and risks, and how to work together as a group. The sessions are essential for forming the bonds of trust necessary for nonviolent direct action to be a success, which is why participating in at least one training afternoon is a requirement for anyone who wishes to take part in an action with XR Barcelona.
The moment has finally arrived – we’re heading to Madrid for the Second International Rebellion! On 7 October, XR rebels around the world will take to the streets in a simultaneous, nonviolent act of civil disobedience, with the objective of causing enough economic disruption to force governments to tell the truth about the climate crisis and act now to solve it. In preparation, rebels from XR Barcelona have undertaken ADNV training and participated in two formative workshops to strengthen the bonds between us. And now, we’re ready to rebel!
(P.S. If you can’t come to Madrid but wish to participate in a parallel action in Barcelona, speak up in the group chat and you will be added to the right group!)
That’s it for this month’s XR Barcelona newsletter. Thanks to each and every one of you for the amazing things you’ve done for the planet in the last four weeks. We leave you with a last piece of inspiration: a letter written by one XR Barcelona rebel to their boss, explaining why they won’t be at work on Monday…
See you on the streets.
Love and rage,