XR: Attempted censorship in Nottingham and our response

Nottingham RCG rolling picket for the environment

On 2 June members of the Nottingham branch of the RCG received an email from an anonymous organiser of Extinction Rebellion Nottingham, stating:

'At a meeting of a dozen members of Extinction Rebellion Nottingham (XRN) today it was decided that members of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) would not be allowed to take part in the Actions Working Group. We therefore respectively ask that you do not attend the session on Monday evening.'

Ignoring this attempted ban, we attended the meeting. Only six other people were present. Three of these declared themselves party to the decision to ban us from the meeting, and admitted that this had been decided without consultation with the dozens, if not hundreds, of people working under the XR banner in Nottingham. This makes a mockery of any claim to ‘horizontal’ organising. Neither is this an elected leadership, but a self-appointed clique. Such action is also in complete contravention of XR’s own stated principles that they will ‘welcome everyone, and every part of everyone’.

RCG members have been regularly attending XR events in Nottingham for months, and played a central role in the ‘swarms’ in April that considerably raised the profile of XR locally, attracting dozens more people to its meetings, providing equipment and keeping spirits high when under pressure from irate motorists. We have also been supporting the Youth Strikes, and holding our own events on the climate crisis, including regular street stalls and a rolling picket on 1 June that targeted businesses profiting from the destruction of the environment (see report here).

The email also made claims that members of the RCG have been ‘disruptive’, citing as an example our participation in a 29 May XR public meeting. At this meeting our ‘disruption’ was to point out that a speaker was falsifying history by claiming that the Civil Rights Movement in the United States was exclusively ‘non-violent’, and falsifying the present by claiming that the British police are ‘benign’ when, in fact, they have killed at least 1,709 people since 1990. What they call ‘disruption’ is the simple act of telling the truth, something that is supposedly central to XR’s principles and demands. 

In our newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! we have described the new environmental movement, including XR, as ‘a breath of fresh air’. Yet XR’s self-appointed leadership in Nottingham are seeking to impose autocratic control, banning those with differing views and stifling political discussion about how to develop the movement. While repeatedly stating that ‘this is not the time for discussion’, they have done nothing to create places where much-needed discussion can take place.

The RCG refuses to be censored. We will continue to fight for an open, democratic movement, and to contribute to the urgent debate on the causes and solutions of the environmental crisis.

Nottingham RCG