Last updated: 2019-12-10
I (Philip Rhoades) created XR-X for two main reasons:
In mid-2019, the few people who controlled the National IT group for XR Australia were refusing to correct activist sign-up problems that endangered the security of those new people - particularly the young leaders. I felt this was intolerable as Western democracies accelerated their slide into full-blown Fascism.
A concerted world-wide effort is needed to prosecute "Carbon Criminals" who have pushed the system to a state where The World's Sixth Mass Extinction is probably now unstoppable and will accelerate to its natural conclusion in the near term.
Last updated: 2019-12-11
The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines has just determined that 47 major companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Total, could be found legally and morally liable for human rights harms to Filipinos resulting from climate change. The commission found the companies could be held accountable under civil and criminal laws. Climate activists have hailed the decision as a landmark victory for climate justice. According to Greenpeace, this marks the first time big polluting companies have been found responsible for human rights harms resulting from the climate crisis. We speak to Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the former chief climate negotiator for the Philippines.
Last updated: 2020-01-07
Last updated: 2019-12-20
I got involved with XR Sydney at the end of 2018 when CazC, after seeing what was happening in the UK, took it upon herself to start recruiting for NSW. There were only a handful of us but the numbers were increasing rapidly. I was the only person in that early group who had both significant IT experience and was able to put in a fair amount of time to organising. I naturally ended up as the Sydney / NSW rep to the "National" IT group. This group simply consisted of people who had some IT experience and took it upon themselves (with a great amount of help from XR International) to build systems that would allow some amount of co-ordination between the States, Territories, Cities and Towns. There was no "democratic election" to the National IT Group as such.
While I was generally happy with the National IT Group volunteers and the work that they had done to date - there was one issue which took me a few weeks to realise was a serious problem . .
I came from a progressive political family tradition - indeed my mother and father (at 17 and 22) were arrested at a "Ban the Bomb" rally in Sydney in 1949 - 3 years before I was born. When I read Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in 1962 (aged 10), I knew there was a major problem. I was also having nightmares about possible nuclear annihilation that could occur at any moment. In 1973, The Club of Rome published "The Limits to Growth" and confirmed my view that an exponentially growing human population - combined with a consumption-based economic model - was a recipe for disaster. Every year we seemed to be taking one step forward in terms of technology but three steps forward in terms of environmental damage. Human "intelligence" and technological wizardary did not seem to be able to slow down the environmental car speeding towards the cliff edge.
So I eventually got a Biology degree but was continually distracted by politics - local and domestic eg Demonstrating against:
- an illegal and stupid war in Viet Nam - which the Tories had dragged us and an enthusiastic USA into - Labor leader Gough Whitlam was elected PM in 1972 and immediately withdrew Australian troops;
- the Springbok (Rugby Union) tours of Australia - protesting the Apartheid regime in South Africa;
- the illegal dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor General in 1975 (with the collusion of Australian and US Intelligence agencies).
In mid-life I thought it would be a good idea to get a higher degree with a thesis on computer simulation of Population Genetics issues facing threatened species - so that I might have more influence with political arguments about the worsening environmental crises and in particular, Global Warming. As we moved into the 2000s, I gave up the idea of saving individual species - The World's Sixth Mass Extinction seemed more and more unstoppable. At first I thought we might have another 100 years, then I thought it might be 50 - but after a while I thought it could be as little as 10 years before it was all over.
Then Extinction Rebellion came to be a "thing". At last here was an organisation who understood what the stakes were and would act appropriately. I would get involved and do as much as could for the cause - even though, by then, I thought the cause was already lost - but you still have to do the right thing don't you? My personal thesis was by then (2010s) that as the various crises deepened - exacerbated by criminal, obscenely greedy, power-mad corporations (and the politicians they controlled) - we were headed for the "Perfect Storm" for the end of human civilisation. While this rapid environmental deterioration happened, Western "democracies" would slide rapidly into full-blown Fascism. The problem I saw, was that with the many (ironically / awfully named) "Intelligence" agencies - particularly operating within the "Five Eyes" treaty countries - leaders of an environmental group that REALLY threatened "The System" would be at grave risk. Unfortunately, the DB software that XR Aus was using was capturing ALL the information the NSA would need to destroy the movement, and, to make matters worse - the data was stored on servers in the good ol' US of A . .
I tried for many months to get the XR Nationalal IT Group to take the security threat seriously - that their actions would needlessy put the security of hundreds of thousands of activists (particularly young ones) at threat. In the end they got jack of my obstinacy on the issue and I was booted from the Group. Since I was no longer on the Nation IT Group as the NSW / Sydney rep, I also had to drop out of the NSW / Sydney Organisers Group. As of writing this blog, the XR Aus signup form has not changed and National IT has pressed on with a completely insecure and compromised DB system. I got some sympathy from XR International but all XR groups are more or less independent and they cannot intervene. The National IT argument is that the WSME is accelerating so rapidly that worrying about a similarly rapid slide into Fascism is a waste of time - my view is that the organisation should be completely open to new recruits about the risks of signing up to the organisation and allow the recruits to make their own decisions and / or at least suggest to them the options of using pseudonyms and secure email addresses etc.
Last updated: 2019-12-20
The question I have is: "Now that millions of people are dying because of the effects of Global Warming and, inevitably, in combination with endless and increasingly damaging wars, it will soon be billions of people dying - should not the main people and corporations responsible for these crimes be brought to justice while it is still possible to do so?"
The Conclusion from:
"On the podium in Philadelphia in 1939, what Sutherland really said-once the camouflage is removed-is that white-collar crime is wrong-indeed, that often it is despicable-and that sociologists and economists ought to pay close attention to such matters and join with him in a crusade to do something about them (Geis 1982, p. 18)."
"As the social science research cited above demonstrates, the ties between the fossil fuel industry and conservative think tanks that provide the denialist narratives are well documented, as are the linkages between the think tanks and the Republican Party that obstructs any attempt to deal with climate change in the U.S. and international political arena. The worst effects of climate change and the harms it will impose on its victims cannot be avoided unless there are drastic and quick reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. The energy corporations and their political and ideological supporters understand all too well that achieving these necessary reductions will require a radical reordering of the economic and political systems at the heart of the global capitalist system. This is what they are desperately fighting to avoid, and they are using every powerful tool available to them to perpetrate this catastrophic environmental state-corporate crime. A crusade, a transformative international social movement that has as its goal the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is desperately needed. Following the lead of Edwin H. Sutherland, perhaps we criminologists can play a role in provoking this movement by using the conceptual language of crime to bring greater attention to these matters and help generate moral outrage at the destructive relationship between the fossil fuel industry and states that allows catastrophic climate change and its victimization to continue unabated."
Last updated: 2019-12-20
After the end of the Second World War, many German and Japanese officials were tried for War Crimes. Some of these people "only" killed millions of people - what sort of justice should be metered out to individuals and corporations who cause the deaths of billions of people (and trillions of other organisms) on Earth? I am going to explore the need for these trials in the following posts - not so much to establish the guilt of these individuals and corporations - but to establish a just response on how they should be treated for their horrendous crimes. See these links for an introduction to where I am going with this desperately-needed project:
Last updated: 2020-01-09
As I write this, Australia is suffering through the worst fire season in its history - and this is only a taste of what is to come - the burning season will last longer each year and burn more organic matter each year - eventually leaving only inorganics to blow away or to be washed away in increasingly catastrophic wind storms and floods. Simple life is probably common throughout the cosmos but we are probably the only "intelligent" life managing a relatively advanced technological civilisation. We had a responsibility to spread this intelligence to the rest of our Solar System, then the rest of our Galaxy and then even to other galaxies or even universes - but we have fucked-up badly, and now probably won't even survive our own species' adolescence.
The fact that this hellish situation is clearly related to Global Warming is not seriously in argument - the question is: "Who is to be held to account for the crimes that has lead to this situation?". My view is that in every country, the people themselves should hold all CEOs of all Big Carbon corporations and all politicians who did the bidding of these corporations, accountable. My view is that the people who should be held to account date from 1960 - about the year they knew what they were doing would eventually cause the sort of problems we are seeing today - but went ahead as fast as they could anyway - all the while producing lies of such scale about the nature of the problem and the number of human deaths involved as to be completely monstrous.
In Australia, the Big Carbon CEOs from 1960 can readily be identified but the politician who bears the single most responsibility for enabling the corporations and crippling any intelligent response to Global Warming is Tony "The Mad Monk" Abbott - thankfully now a former PM and a former MP. However the legacy of his criminal actions - out of pure, completely cynical and immoral political self-interest - will live on - until we are all gone. The brakes on the acceleration of The World's Sixth Mass Extinction may have still, conceivably, been able to be applied for some positive result in 2009 - but the rise of Abbott's influence in the Australian parliament ensured there were at least ten lost years of potential action. Australians, having the second-highest production of CO2 per capita in the world and Australia, as one of the largest coal exporters but still having something resembling a democratically-elected government, had huge responsibilities to lead the world away from a cataclysmic end.
My view is that all the assets of (at least) the Big Carbon CEOs from 1960 onwards and Abbott, should be confiscated and be used to rapidly accelerate a move to 100% renewable energy and to develop industrial-scale plants for CO2 extraction from the atmosphere and the oceans. This confiscation should not be limited to those people still alive - it should also be applied to those assets inherited or transferred before or after death. Those responsible CEOs still alive and Abbott should then spend the rest of their natural lives in gaol - or until the inevitble conclusion of The World's Sixth Mass Extinction - whichever comes first.
Last updated: 2019-12-10
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