A response to reports of a crackdown on protest

The Times (26/11/22) writes that our latest Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak is set to announce a crackdown on “protestors like Just Stop Oil” as part of a series of announcements to talk tough on key issues to convince voters and backbenchers that he is “in tune with their concerns.” Meanwhile the Metropolitan Police has announced that they are “determined to bring to justice all those activists who cause disruption or damage to London”.

Does it feel like groundhog day? Haven’t we been here before with the last two prime ministers and their home secretaries? They say that repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting a different result each time is a sign of madness. 

But we already know that the government is deluded and out of touch. To blindly pursue new fossil fuel extraction when the IEA, the UN and 99% of the world’s scientists have said that to do so will lead to the collapse of human civilization is, in the words of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, “moral and economic madness”. 

To delay acting for another decade, when the science suggests that if we don’t drastically scale down use of fossil fuels by 2030 we will cause many millions more deaths from extreme heat, drought, crop failure and starvation, is genocidal.

It matters little what changes legislators make to the laws on peaceful protest or how strongly the police enforce those laws. Just Stop Oil supporters understand that this is irrelevant when set against mass starvation, slaughter, the loss of our rights, freedoms and communities. 

Just Stop Oil is not a fashionable cause or a protest movement. These so-called “eco-zealots” are people in resistance and they are doing what the Suffragettes did and what the Civil Rights movements did. It’s what everyone does when the inalienable right to life and a livelihood are violated – they engage in direct action. It is an act of self respect, an act of solidarity, an act of necessity. 

The very idea that the ordinary people who have been using all possible peaceful means to ensure a future for humanity could be charged with selfishness is laughable and just shows how out of touch the government really is.  

Once again, for those at the back: the government can end the disruption today by calling a halt to new oil and gas licences and consents.