Remote activism strategies in times of Corona

Extinction Rebellion in Glasgow are finding remote ways to keep the pressure on oil companies at a time when social gatherings are restricted…

The featured image shows a banner made by Alison Murray. Image description: orange block lettering saying “Physical Distance Social Solidarity” on a red background. A number of people in blue are holding the letters and waving at each other. Yellow bars labels 2m run between the people.

XR say “Look after yourselves everyone and remember to reach out to each other digitally as much as you can. Physical distance doesn’t have to mean socially distant.”

And here they report on a remote action that they organised on 20th March:

“Today Extinction Rebellion Glasgow University, along with XR Youth and Polluters Out, participated in their first ever remote action!

The COVID-19 crisis has had a massive impact all over the world but the climate crisis is ongoing and the fight for climate justice should not be ignored or forgotten. For this reason, we’ve had to reconsider how we do our actions, moving them online.

As well as a global 24h livestream of webinars on climate justice, we targeted the fossil fuel industry through a #Cyberstorm, a digital form of direct action in which hundreds of people bombard the major polluter’s means of communication through constantly calling their business lines, emailing them, twitter storming, and writing all over their Facebook page. The intention with this was to disrupt these companies’ business for a day (or longer) in order to carry across the message that they are not welcome at COP, and that more direct action will ensue if we are not listened to.

Our group repeatedly called everywhere from Shell HQ to Shell Investor Relations to their various plants up and down the country, trying to keep them on the phone for as long as possible to maximise disruption.”

A protest outside a Shell garage in Glasgow in January 2020

We at the XR Glasgow media team have lots of ideas of how to continue during this time of physical distancing, so watch this space for further developments.