Of Ratbags, Protests and Selective Policing
Victoria’s bold gendarmes in Ballarat last September arrested and handcuffed a 28-year-old pregnant woman in her kitchen in pyjamas for anti-lockdown “incitement” on a Facebook post., which she described as a “bit of a bimbo moment”. Yet somehow Dan Andrews’ police were impotent for nearly two hours after two Extinction Rebellion activists parked their hired truck across the tramlines by Flinders Street Station last Friday. Trams and traffic jammed up for a kilometre with tens of thousands of commuters disrupted.
The two activists locked themselves on the top of the cabin. Their truck’s planetary caption read, “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” (For “fire”, now substitute “flooded”).
Eventually the coppers marshalled the mojo to arrest them and shift the truck. One activist was fined $5000 for forcing half of Melbourne to a standstill. Compare that with $440 I myself was fined a while back for scooting with one foot (not riding) my pushbike through the same intersection against the pedestrians’ green light.
The fined truck bloke personifies the nuttery embodied in Extinction Rebellion. He wrote to fellow-zealots 18 months ago:
Thank you from our mother earth for being receptive to the pain of our times, and for taking on so much responsibility as part of the rebellion to try and amplify the earths (sic) painful sorrow till it can’t be unheard.
Thank you so much for the hours and hours of your brilliant vision, your brain and body power that you put into this movement. We are a multi-million-dollar organism now, comprised of some of the best and bravest…
I’m grateful to you for letting me know that I’m not alone. And that if I’m mad, then I’m among the most beautiful and kind and lovely people there are and I’ll take that madness with a smile. (And obviously, the world is madder.)
On Saturday he disclosed that coppers had fed him toast with butter and Vegemite in the City West Watchhouse, where he spent 12 hours. The cops dropped nearly all of a bucketload of charges except committing “public nuisance” (once a euphemism for urinating in alleys). The magistrate, he said, wanted to jail him as a “ratbag” but refrained because he had no priors. After a rant about fictions like Pacific islands drowning (they’re expanding, even the ABC agrees about that), the “nuisance” said he’d send the notice re his “small fine” to Scotty from Marketing in Canberra.
The mad people and useful idiots of Extinction Rebellion are illegally disrupting cities all around Australia this week, except it’s been too rainy for them in Sydney and Brisbane:
Extinction Rebellion Victoria will be disrupting Melbourne as part of a coordinated national Rebellion in all state capitals. This is a critical act of non-violent civil disobedience, to disrupt business as usual, and draw attention to the climate and ecological emergency we are facing and that the government is ignoring – endangering the lives of all of us, and all future generations of life.
Melbourne is saturated with XR material: yesterday, when my wife went to the butcher in Union Road, Ascot Vale, right outside was a poster in pink and blue: “March 22 – Rebel against climate chaos”.
In Victoria at least, XR knows the Andrews government will treat them with kid gloves, just as VicPol allowed thousands to parade for Black Lives Matter last June at the height of the pandemic lockdown. But VicPol brutally cracked down on mask offences and anti-lockdown rallies held in parks that didn’t involve disrupting other citizens. You can see this video of them brutalising a 69-year-old grandmother into hysteria.
VicPol is so politicised that in 2018 it billed Canadian anti-multi-culturalism speaker Laura Southern $68,000 for protecting her audience against Antifa and other left thugs. “As per the Victoria Police (fees and charges) Regulations 2014, Victoria Police has the right to charge any event organiser for the use of police resources,” a spokesman explained. Southern, as an ideological foe of Premier Dan Andrews, declined to be blackmailed by VicPol. The plod buckled after belatedly getting legal advice that their charge was illegitimate. Basically, the law allows VicPol to bill for, say, traffic control outside Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup day, but not if a riot were to break out in the Birdcage, the keeping of public order being a fundamental obligation of the constabulary.
XR’s Melbourne calendar for this week includes two “optional arrestable actions” on four days and one of them on each of two days. As the XR Yarra group emailed members this month (my emphasis),
Immediately after the meeting we’ll head out for a practice action at a prominent location nearby (very low risk of arrest).
Another event: “Plot the mass civil disobedience needed in response to the climate and ecological emergency.” A bit to the north of the CBD, XR Darebin every Friday “is swarming roads…” XR signs off confusingly: “XR VIC acknowledges that we rebel on the stolen land of the Indigenous people of Australia.”
XR solemnly assures recruits that it is a “politically non-partisan movement” but strangely, one Melbourne event is titled, “Scott Morrison BBQ the planet”. Another is “March Against Murdoch”. The XR acolytes are finishing the week with workshops on “White Privilege Training – Cultural Inheritance”, whatever on earth that signifies.
Thankfully, and unlike Melbourne, not all world cities have capitulated to XR.
“The Amsterdam police were ready and waiting at the first major crossing. They blocked off the procession and proclaimed that anyone who stayed put would be arrested. Around two-thirds elected to ignore this warning and were carried by police into waiting buses, which then drove them to the outskirts of the city where they were dumped and told to walk home.”
This pick up and dump tactic is a new and mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties. Images of rebels being arrested make it into the media, but the rebels don’t take up any cell space which is now severely limited thanks to covid restrictions. While protests of any size are legal in the Netherlands, social distancing still applies, and there is a strict 9pm curfew.
The rebels who escaped the police buses proceeded to the Museumplein, a large public square, blocking streets with ‘mini-swarms’ along the way. After a few hours they were re-joined by their bussed off comrades, who had walked back into the city centre. But they did not remain united for very long.
As the parade headed for the National Opera house, a protest space prearranged with authorities, the police cornered them again, and another 40 rebels were loaded into the buses and deported to the suburbs.
In Oslo, during a blockade of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy last autumn, police arrested nearly all the rebels who had taken part, kept them in solitary confinement overnight, and then fined them [each!] 1 million Norwegian kroner, around 100,000 euros or $A155,000. XR bleats that “the thorough police response and crippling fines are making civil disobedience very difficult in Norway.” In Daniel Andrews’ Victoria, by contrast, flying squads of ratbags get police escorts.
In Melbourne, GoPro video-blogger Bill Thompson, 71, was caught by Friday’s truck blockaders and in his role as Everyman, reported the event to Youtube. Bill’s clip begins with a couple of XR stalwarts. One is a matron about 55 in a high-viz vest holding pamphlets about the global-heated end of the world.
Bill: “There’s a kilometre of traffic blocked because you people think you have a right to do this to other Melbourne people. I think it is absolutely disgusting. Why not demonstrate in Fed Square so you don’t upset other people’s lives?
Woman: We are trying to raise attention…
Bill: Meanwhile the Chinese are polluting the atmosphere to their heart’s content. Are you Marxists by any chance?
Bill: Well why not go on to Fed Square so you don’t upset other people? The Chinese are a bigger threat to the world than global warming…
Woman (anticipating her martyrdom a la St Catherine): I am a white heterosexual privileged woman and I am going to be fined…
Bill (unfeelingly): Well what about all the other people waiting in line while you are screwing them around?”
Bill, a mate, explained to me later that he didn’t see much point in further discussion with the white heterosexual privileged XR lady. Later in the clip, Bill arrives at the Flinders and Swanson streets intersection, where the truck occupies centre stage, but coppers block him from approaching it in order to GoPro the occupants.
Bill: I’d like to talk to these people.
Copper: No no no, sorry sir. Jump off the road.
Bill: They can stand here but I can’t?
Copper: You have a direction to move on.
Bill: What about them? Have they been directed to move on?
Copper: We are organising it now, sir. [The truck has been in situ an hour or so]. Come on, sir, please.
Bill: This happens on a regular basis here. People get disrupted all the time…
Copper: For your safety…
Bill: There’s a kilometre of trams and traffic. Get them (XR) out of here!
Copper: That is what we are trying to do.
Bill: You move me on, let’s move them on.
Copper: Thank you, sir. For your own safety…
Bill (to camera): I’ve had a gutful of what’s going on around here.
The quality of our life under the Andrews socialist government is captured by last week’s bland report on the truck snarl-up in the Herald Sun.
Police will allow a series of climate protests to take place across Melbourne next week but have vowed to ensure citizens will be allowed to go about their daily lives.
Thousands of people from the Extinction Rebellion movement are gearing up for seven days of planned [illegal] “disruptive action” starting on Monday at 7.30am.
Extinction Rebellion activist Violet Coco said the group had a “big week of action” planned.
“Our demands are to declare a climate ecological emergency, zero emissions by 2025 and democracy is f..ked so we need citizens’ assemblies.”
Victoria Police said it had “undertaken extensive planning” to ensure the protests next week were safe.
“There is expected to be traffic disruptions at different locations and times throughout the week, and we plan to provide relevant updates to ensure those in the city are aware,” a spokeswoman said.
“We will have a highly visible presence in the area to maintain public safety.”
Talking of safety and XR protests, in London last year Extinction Rebellion protests caused the death of a man because an XR-created traffic jam meant his ambulance didn’t get him to hospital in time. According to Sky News host Rowan Dean, “The head of that protest, a woman, said that death was absolutely, perfectly excusable because what they were doing was in the greater good of saving the planet from climate change… when specifically asked whether she would do it again, she said yes.”
XR neatly wedged Melbourne’s wokely Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who has overseen every variety of climate stupidity and green nonsense at city ratepayers’ expense. If she really believes the planet is doomed, she should be on the street with XR rather than wringing her hands at XR’s damage to the city’s nascent recovery from the gross economic damage inflicted by the COVID lockdowns.
Melbourne has been the focus of XR, being the sucker city of the south as far as police pushback is concerned. In November, XR blocked a major CBD intersection: “The emphasis was on exposing the planet killing lies of the Murdoch press.” A few days later four “rebels” glued themselves to the entrance of the Health Department while a dozen staged a corny ‘die-in’ to represent “symbolic victims of the climate and pandemic crises.” The campaign was capped with a ‘Festival of Love and Rage’ that “disrupted the city by land and sea.” (Nine festival goers were arrested).
On Monday of this week, XR’s corny red-garbed cultists blocked Spring and Bourke streets near Parliament by playing dead on the road. The ever-helpful VicPol thoughtfully diverted traffic. “The protesters have pledged to wreak havoc every day this week in the city as they call for climate intervention,” said the Herald-Sun.
Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius proclaimed that his troops “would not hesitate to make arrests”. This, after they hesitated for an hour and a half around the Flinders Street truck on Friday! There were a few arrests on Monday, but not anywhere near enough, as fuming drivers sitting idle in the resulting St Kilda Road traffic jam would have thought.
Gutted by Daniel Andrews’ lockdowns, Melbourne’s CBD is awash with empty office space and shuttered stores.
VicPol has diverted 2000 police from local stations to ensure the XR law-breakers do not “unduly” inconvenience others, a police statement explained, as distinct from keeping the suburban communities safe from drive-by shooters and ethnic gangs of home-invaders. Melbourne’s media is so averse to getting on the wrong side of VicPol they describe toothless police leaders as “slamming” the XR mob. That doesn’t mean whipping out the handcuffs and truncheons but, rather, denouncing them to chatty radio hosts and concocting cuddly press releases. It doesn’t do to alienate the boys, girls and otherwises of VicPol. The next time they set out to frame a cardinal, they might do their leaking to another news organ.
In Brisbane things aren’t much better on the policing front. The ‘Defy Disaster’ protest by 250 XR dolts disrupted the CBD for two days. “In an effort to stop the reclaiming of the roads, police arrested 10 marchers,” XR noted. Wow! Less than a dozen arrests despite two days of chaos inflicted on millions of law-abiding residents.
XR’s PROSE forever strives for new heights of hyperbole.
We need immediate action to avoid unspeakable human suffering and irreversible damage to the natural world… this climatic and ecological nightmare that worsens with every passing day. This leaves all of us – and the planet we call home – in a desperate and dangerous position … a terrifying new reality…business-as-usual-profit-at-any-cost suicide mission. A terrifying new reality … we are in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction.
To inject a touch of realism, there’s been a levelling off of global warmingin the past half decade (despite huge growth in CO2). After about 1degC of warming in the past century, agricultural production continues to smash records. CO2 is greening the planet and many types of extreme weather are reducing. As usual, the official XR press is too busy sounding the tocsin to check facts. Thus Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland pollutes the planet in “Western Australia”.
XR’s climate caper involves out-doing every other left group in global warming hysteria and the urging of draconian “solutions”. For example, XR’s policy is for net zero in Australia by 2025, never mind 2050. Any engineer can calculate that zero-2025 involves us building a Hazelwood-sized nuclear power plant every 11 days from now until January 1, 2026, or 33 per year. Do-able? I don’t think so.
To by-pass their fringe-minority status, XR advocates “citizens assemblies” involving “sortition” or sampling the population. Once isolated, this group is force-fed XR propaganda and its conclusions then pushed to parliamentarians.
New XR tactics include
# Rebellion of One: a single person becomes a roadblock, holding an emotively-worded sign. “They sit in the road alone until they choose to move or are moved. But they have an incognito support team hiding in plain sight nearby.” A thousand such solos can cause traffic chaos.
# Naked protests: For clickbait and pics in the compliant media.
# Lawfare: From last year, XR began diversifying from law-breaking to “lawfare” – using existing ‘green’ laws to sue and harass those keeping society running. For example, Portuguese youth activists – one about ten years old– are taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
# New Laws: XR’s international lawyers are promoting new laws, such as creating the climate crime of “Ecocide” analogous to a crime against humanity. These laws are leveraged into play at the UN via climate leeches such as the Maldives and Vanuatu. “One day soon,” enthuses XR, “negligent politicians and polluting CEOs could find themselves in the dock of the International Criminal Court!”
# Money Rebellion: Now launched in the UK involving tax strikes. Good luck with those — regardless of country, the taxman is infamously keen to enforce the law, unlike VicPol.
Typical of XR’s vandal mindset was their attacks last year on Cambridge’s Trinity College. They arrived with spades and wheelbarrows, chanting, ‘This is what democracy looks like’, and dug trenches through its ancient lawn to excoriate “digging for oil”. The supine Trinity College authorities made no complaint to police, who in any event were busy diverting traffic to assist the lawn diggers.
XR’s real agenda is to by-pass the political process where the dark Greens seldom get more than 8 per cent of the vote. They have discovered, as did Lenin before them, that revolutions can be achieved with as little as 3.5% support, providing the 3.5% make enough racket and knows how to leverage its strengths. Nicolle Flint, the Liberal South Australian MHR being driven from politics by a vile and sexually-abusive leftist campaign to destroy her sanity, is proof of that. She cites XR among her tormentors.
A UK founder of XR, Rupert Read, co-authored a tract “This Civilisation is Finished” with Melbourne University’s anti-growth guru Dr Sam Alexander. Read writes,
It is just-about conceivable that this civilisation might survive by adopting an extremely disciplined eco-fascism.” Read says of the Covid epidemic that it’s a huge opportunity for XR … ‘It is essential that we do not let this crisis go to waste.’ The pair would also like to return Western civilisation to horseback.
As UK author Ben Pile describes XR,
They may call themselves ‘protesters’ and ‘rebels’, but the police treat them with kid gloves for a reason – their demands resonate with the authorities much more than they do with the public, who are largely fed up with all the pointless disruption. Even in this era of self-identification, Extinction Rebellion has as much chance of becoming a genuinely popular movement for change as I have of being the next leading ballerina at the Royal Ballet.
The political class would gladly and immediately implement XR’s demands. What stops them is the very real possibility that imposing such draconian cuts to living standards would quickly unite the public once and for all on the issue of climate policy… against it. Thankfully, democracy is not dead yet.
If you’re keen on XR, you’d better give up your lamb chops, because you’re also rebelling against “speciesism”. As the Czech XR crowd puts it,
We were busy linking the climate crisis with other systems of human oppression – the crises of Capitalism, and Colonialism, and the Patriarchy. But one oppressive ideology was not being mentioned. Speciesism – the belief that one species of animal can be morally superior to and so dominate another.Quite simply, farming animals is one of the most ecologically destructive, oppressive and wasteful activities our civilisation does, and it is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.
XR thinks ending animal farming would please the planet. Local Melbourne groups week of rage was fuelled by toasted tofu sandwiches.
I’ll round off this critique with some spicy XR history. XR’s UK founders Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook have championed XR’s “plane truth” fight against CO2-intensive aviation tourism. Hallam for example was arrested and jailed for flying a drone by Heathrow Airport two years ago, claiming Heathrow expansion was “a crime against humanity”. Bradbrook championed the Keep It Grounded “mass civil disobedience” campaign at City Airport. The XR website proclaimed: “Scientists make it crystal clear that without rapid reduction of passenger numbers and flights, the goal of limiting global heating cannot be achieved. One of the greatest beneficial environmental impacts we can have as individuals is to reduce the number of flights we take.”
But Gail Bradbrook (below with Hallam), who has been on an anti-CO2 campaign since 2010, is a hypocrite. In 2016 she loaded up her Facebook with pics of her 11,000-mile air trip to Costa Rica where she stayed at the $A4500 per week New Life Iboga Retreat. She explained that her holiday of self-discovery included taking hallucinogenic drugs that inspired her “to get with the spirit of the otter”. She also gushed that she wanted to use her visit to “express my most passionate self” in “the most filthiest, animal way”. She contacted a spirit known as Grandmother Ayahuasca and got a “kick up the a*** on negative habits”.
She claimed the West African hallucinogenic shrub ibogaine “rewired” her brain, giving her “the codes of social change”. She had a “mystical experience” — explaining: “I lay down and a voice that felt very external to me said, ‘Gail, you create your own reality’. When I got home I ended a marriage and separated my family. It was a huge decision but it was the right thing to do.”
Bradbrook is an adult version of Greta Thunberg, spouting even purer weirdness. In a speech sponsored by HSBC Bank, she began,
I am speaking to you as a rebel, as a mother, and more than anything, a mother of life on earth … We are f***ed. Humanity is f***ed. It [climate] is a disaster of Biblical proportions. We have to let in that feeling of grief. This is a feminine peace for all of us, men, women and other genders, to feel the grief …
Co-founder of XR Roger Hallam is relatively level-headed compared with Bradbrook. He’s an organic farmer-turned-civil disobedience expert based at King’s College London. Among his writings were “Escape from the Neoliberal Higher Education Prison: A Proposal for a New Digital Communist University.”
Hallam met Bradbrook while he was busy spraying greenist graffiti on King’s College gates and in its Great Hall. He possessed the supposed globe-changing codes for rebels sought by Bradbrook (no, this is not the script for another Da Vinci Code movie).
But his more recent mouthings have been catastrophic for XR. Interviewed by weekly Die Zeit , Hallam rated the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews was “almost a normal event … just another f***ery in human history.” He said: “The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.” In the interview he repeated calls for the climate crisis to be treated with as much emotion as the Nazis’ Auschwitz, where 1.1 million people were murdered.
XR’s PRs went into meltdown trying to wish away their founder’s despicable comments. The trauma within XR UK was so great that it had to set up “Care Councils to care for individuals, teams and the movement.” XR flaks said,
We would like to recognise again how painful this situation has been for so many and to let you know that we have given everything we can to hold it for the organism … As a new and rapidly growing movement, XR UK did not have clear systems and processes set up to respond to the challenging situation where an individual made comments that were polarising and which caused harm to individuals, the movement and the wider public.
XR UK eventually sacked Hallam as spokesman for three months, a very light flagellation.
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The Chinese CCP is collectively laughing their arses off. XR is a very appropriate name.
Nihilism on display: they benefit from the rights and processes of the very cultures they seek to destroy. Due process for them, but not for their victims.
XR is the vanguard of the West’s cultural revolution. XR is the latest manifestation of the enemy.
The great thing about XR is that they never seem to have a go against China, Russia etc. Truly they are useful idiots.
As for protests, I’ve long been puzzled why, when they glue themselves to something, the authorities release them. Why not just leave them stuck for days? They might not be so keen next time.
XR have handsomely rewarded professional ‘scientists’ in the pay of the public purse like Betts of the Met to defend them in court, to argue that their democracy-destroying antics are proportional to the ‘climate risks’ identified by ‘the science’.
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A highlighted quotation from today’s Guardian Long Read about road closures and returning streets to pedestrians and cyclists caught my eye – “As polling shows, people tend to like green policies in theory, but less so when they are the ones being inconvenienced by them”. My initial reaction was “How true” but then I wondered if this were indeed true. XR seems to go out of its way to deliberately inconvenience people, supporters and opponents alike, yet its support seems to grow and authorities seemingly become more tolerant (if not downright accommodating) to its antics. How is this magic accomplished?
@ Alan, the reason is that XR are pressuring the government to do something they actually want to do, just at a more sedate pace.
Rationally we should not attempt Net Zero at all. XR, by demanding it within 5 years, make the government’s 29 year deadline look eminently sensible. XR will thrive until the government decides to abandon the target. Then it will not be met with kid gloves.
@ Mark, you know my hypothesis regarding this particular hysteria: that one of its main causes is the relative ease of life in the modern West. No country where education or power is not universal, or where their chief concern is institutional corruption, etc, etc, all those things we take for granted, would give the time of day to climate catastrophists *unless* they stood to benefit by demanding handouts from wealthy nations, a point which goes back to your last post that I have so far failed to comment on 4 times. (Still, it seems WP has forgiven me, if the post I just put on the Mann thread is anything to go by.)
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@JIT “Alan, the reason is that XR are pressuring the government to do something they actually want to do, just at a more sedate pace.”
I’m not too sure of this. There more XR get their way
I’m not too sure of this. There more XR get their way the quicker the CCC’s gravy train will end.