Less than a month after our first assembly we took to the streets of London to carry out an action to coincide with the beginning of Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) ‘Rebellion Week’. We gathered among the tourists in front of St Paul’s cathedral. Our numbers were made up of members from various groups, including but not limited to the London Anarchist Federation, Earth Strike UK and the Revolutionary Communist Group. With flags waving, masks up and the sound system blaring, we began our stroll down the middle of the road, blocking traffic as we went.
In contrast with XR, who were aiming to hold and block symbolic parts of London which they had announced to the police beforehand, we told the police nothing and remained fluid and adaptable. As such, with a much much smaller group we were able to cause a significant amount of disruption despite not being able to achieve our initial aim of getting inside the London Stock Exchange. Our main route consisted of visiting and blockading various locations with functional significance for capital and resource transactions in London – the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England and the Metal Exchange.
Along the tour we also stopped off at other points of interest – banks, courts, the church of Scientology – either chosen by particular comrades in the moment, or by the police who, due to not having any idea of our plans, kept running to protect buildings we hadn’t previously considered trying to get into.
Although XR were able to cause disruption, by announcing it beforehand they gave the police time to reroute traffic, massively diminishing their impact despite huge numbers. Clearly they were onto something by blocking Waterloo Bridge as the police started clearing the bridge and arresting people on the first evening; the problem was and is XR’s trust in and collaboration with the police. It’s a shame because with such great numbers they really could shut down London and many other cities if they had better tactics. It should also be made clear that during our road blocks we were still able to let ambulances through – so this is not a valid excuse for working with the state.
We ended our tour by walking to Parliament Square to show some solidarity with the XR protesters there. In a scene of joyful solidarity we were greeted with cheers, chants and celebration from most of the people on the street. We were approached, not for the first time, by people relieved to see an alternative to liberal dogma of non-violence and police collaboration. It was clear, however, that the organisers and peace police were not as keen to welcome us and they were overheard telling each other to keep an eye on our group. This backs up the point made elsewhere that we can support the XR movement, which in many cases is made up of anti-capitalists and works autonomously in non-hierarchical groups, while heavily critiquing the top-down XR organisation.
The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is an alternative to XR and will maintain a safe distance from their police informants and snitches, but we will continue to take actions in solidarity with the movement and the thousands of people who are looking for a solution to climate and ecological catastrophe. We hope that the movement will begin to see that the solution can only be found in a complete rejection of capitalism and nationalism, and we will continue to restate this fact through our words and actions.
Below is the flyer that we handed out during the day. Feel free to print off and hand out during events. Alternatively, get in contact with us and we can send you a pdf version.