During 2022, the UK government sent 138 Just Stop Oil supporters to prison. At the end of the year, twelve are still inside. 138 ordinary, everyday people jailed for nonviolently resisting the government’s death project by demanding an end to new oil and gas. Let us be clear. By continuing with new oil and gas projects, politicians are committing millions of people to suffer extreme weather events, such as floods, huge storms and prolonged drought. Millions of people will die, many more will be displaced from their homes and entire nations will be destroyed. New oil and gas is an act of genocide.
This is the terrifying reality: we are living under a genocidal government.
The government’s lack of care is on display for all to see, they no longer hide it. Nurses and teachers are at food banks or on strike, ambulances are queuing outside hospitals, families forced to choose between heating or eating and our streams and rivers used as open sewers.
Their scorn for us is such that they assume we’ll accept in silence. They have no idea what’s coming. Ordinary people are standing up and using the only power we have: unity, love and courage, poured into acts of civil resistance. Nonviolently demanding that the government remembers what it’s for: to protect us, to protect our rights and freedoms and to protect the rule of law .
In 2023, it’s time for those working in the media to go beyond just telling us about record-breaking temperatures, floods and droughts. It’s time to shout about why this is happening and what it will mean for all of us alive today. Civil resistance means confronting the vested interests, the profiteering, and the complicity of all those in the pay of the oil industry.
If you work in the police or the judiciary, you too must break the silence. You don’t have to arrest brave students and pensioners. You don’t have to lock up these courageous, skilled, loving members of society. If you choose to do that, know what you’re doing. You’re working for death, not life. For power and profit, not care and reason. Is that what you want your life’s legacy to be?
If you make that terrible choice, you are complicit in signing the death sentences of billions of people in the years to come. You are allowing the breakdown of law and order on your watch. You will be complicit in genocide. In 2023, defection and resistance as barrister Tim Crosland has demonstrated, are the only moral course of action for police and judiciary to take.
As we welcome in the year ahead, everyone who recognises they are living in a pivotal moment, everyone who can see the impending and deadly threat, that we risk losing all we love, now has a duty to join those in civil resistance. The actions Just Stop Oil supporters take would not be acceptable under normal circumstances, but right now, ordinary people are left with no choice. This is not about polar bears and puffins, it’s about who gets to eat and how we will survive. Under British law people have a legal right to protect themselves, to protect the legacy of their ancestors who came before them and to protect the common inheritance of the people yet to come.
Just Stop Oil