The Vulnerable Void in Debunking

The Vulnerable Void in Debunking
Germany, March 2019, an Extinction Rebellion Die-In

My eight months in Extinction Rebellion (XR) UK/International led to my current "career"/livelihood/path. I feel grounded, wiser, and more connected than ever before.

But this might not be the typical trajectory of an ex-XRer.

Listening to the latest episode of Conspirituality, this gem stood out:

...[t]he ways that directly attacking beliefs can actually cause retrenchment. Or, on the other hand, when you convince someone of harm they're undergoing and you're not replacing it with something else, with a story or a community or with connection, you're pulling the rug out from under somebody and leaving them completely floundering and perhaps more susceptible to even more fantastical takes or strange things. – Blair Hodges

I am complicit in this. I, too, presented the evidence of the harm and did not offer any replacement.

Other than a story.

This story.

That our hearts were aching for a creative, empowered movement that would give us courage to do things we never would have done before, like block roads and sneak in (and plant) artful messages in the Houses of Parliament.

That we got to be part of the organising, bringing our gifts, skills, talents, experience to do something as big as save the ability for humans and other life forms to survive on this stunning planet.

That, through this experience of bringing diverse people together for a common cause, we learned a lot (sometimes it felt like too much) about oppression, discrimination, conflict, founder syndrome, cult dynamics, and the state.

That we lost some of our innocence and naïveté around organising.

That we learned about impacts on mental health (ours and others').

That we learned about our vulnerability to eco-fascism (as a culture, as a society, as a movement).

And so we educated ourselves. Began deeper listening to the voices of those who are most marginalised by society, who have the best perspective on how the system works because the system benefits them so little.

Began to see the importance of true affinity groups, and that of political education and learning from protest history and its proper context.

Did this lead to others forming affinity groups? Maybe not. And maybe that leaves folks in a vulnerable position: disillusioned by XR and still ungrounded and without healthy community.

I haven't done my part in nourishing such groups, even though I have set out the above in various places with the "target audience".

I need to figure out how to create the conditions for this to happen for more people.

For now, get in touch with me if you would like to be a part of this experiment.

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