“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
Extinction Rebellion October uprising in London/ 2 songs live recording from the London Social Arts Festival/ interviews with American Buddhist abbot and Anthropologist Joan Halifax and environmental activist and author Charles Eisensteen/ and preparations for the release of my first album ‘More The Love That’s Given’
I chose the above quote from Roy’s ‘Public Power in The Age Of Empire’ to share the spirit, as I felt it, of the October Uprising in London, 2 weeks of demonstrations for action on the previously declared climate emergency. My experience is here in an interview featured in ‘Humans of XR’ a project to collect voices of those involved; including teachers, doctors, scientists, grandparents, faith leaders and more.
‘I came along this morning with my placard and a decision to take part in some kind of arrestable action. And just at the moment I came to Trafalgar Square, this hearse beside me was driven in, and people locked on to it from the inside and people locked on to it from the front. And the thought welled up in me, I’m going to lie down with these people. Here’s the moment. So I’ve been lying here for the last 8 hours.
I’ve never been arrested before. It’s not that I want to be arrested, it’s more I feel compelled to do it. The more I’ve been to Extinction Rebellion legal trainings, and heard people’s experiences of being arrested, I’ve felt: ‘I can do that. That’s something I’m willing to do.’ I have privilege to be able to lie here – when so many people in the world dare not protest for fear of harm or because they’re just surviving.
I could have just stood here with my sign and some people might have read it. But I know that since I’ve been taking action by lying down here in the road, many more people are reading my sign and taking photos. This action is symbolic, too – of stopping business as usual. There are poor people around the world being affected by business as usual: the investment in fossil fuels continues, there’s massive amounts of wealth being accumulated by relatively few people, while many poor people around the world are just surviving, because of natural disasters linked to those investments. I just don’t think it’s OK. And I’m here stopping the traffic, stopping the flow of London to show my concern.
I’ve considered a lot of things, lying here for the past 8 hours. The predominant thing is the love that is in human beings. When I arrived I had my waterproofs and some water but now: I’m wearing a hat, gloves, wrapped in a blanket, on a tarpaulin, and a hot water bottle under my back. All of that has come from different people throughout the day. Ten minutes hasn’t passed without someone saying: ‘are you OK, can I get you anything?’ And saying thank you. The community within Extinction Rebellion has been amazing, but also lots of other communities of people – it’s a massive effort by so many people from so many walks of life.’
Joe, singer songwriter, interviewed while lying near a Trafalgar Square road blockade created by a hearse with people locked on inside and outside
and a short interview with Dr Gail Bradbrooke, one of the founders.
An emotional 2 weeks, especially with the difficulties experienced by demonstrators and commuters in Canning Town (you may have seen footage of activists being pulled from a tube carriage by angry members of the public) My personal response in divisive moments like this is to breathe as deeply as I can and try and understand it from both sides: I was saddened to see the violence and also saddened that the action went ahead in an area of London where many people live in lower income areas; representing much more those struggling from the inequality, an inequality that many believe is a root cause of our situation. From within XR (a bit) it may be of interest to know that a poll was circulated on the action and a large majority said to not do the action. Passions are high and I’m glad no one was seriously hurt.
2 songs from The London Social Arts Festival. Held at the cosy Lodge space, a community arts venue in East London curator Joanna Puchala and friends bring together this annual event to to give to voice to artists engaging in social themes in different ways through D
dance, story, spoken word, song and more.
Profits from the event went to Black Women Rising a charity set up by Leane Pero community dance advocate and mentor supporting BAME women in arts and business.
Oak Tree and Lay Down with sharings about ecology and migration.
2 interviews featuring my music to share from my friend Phil’s podcast series. Phil is preparing to launch a site collecting interviews over the years with artists and writers including Sam Smith, Anoushka Shankar, Ziggy Marley and Ram Dass –
here are 2, one with Buddhist Abbot and anthropologist Joan Halifax talking about her book of earlier this year ‘Standing On The Edge’; life as an abbot and work within the hospice movement.
and Environmentalist Charles Eisenstein, talking about current work and new book ‘Climate, A New Story’.
At the time of writing, I’m just bringing together the recordings and artwork for my first album, ‘More The Love That’s Given’, if I don’t send this out before it’s up, it may come with a second mail introducing the album!
I’ll leave it there for now 🙂
with kind regards