3 Strategic Axes - Development
This document sets out the axes and objectives of the strategy as well as the avenues for implementing them within local groups, collectives and national circles. These ideas are mainly based on the feedback from the groups on the Strategy proposed at the end of September.
First of all, we need to strengthen our movement by creating the conditions for a real integration of existing members while at the same time recruiting new members.
This strengthening would be done by aiming at 4 objectives:
The aim will be to put in place the context, the means and the environment necessary for the commitment and involvement of the existing rebels. We want to enable them to find their place and feel fully part of the movement while making the functioning of the movement explicit so that everyone can contribute to it by developing their full potential.
- To strengthen the capacity of local groups to recruit new members and especially to integrate existing members, through tools such as a sponsorship system, talks and Introductory Sessions (events to introduce the movement)...
- Strengthen the capacity of groups to devise their own recruitment and integration tools.
- Really welcoming new rebels, favouring personal contacts, taking care of each other (see objective 2).
- Organise training in SOS (Self-organizing system) in order to better understand the organisation of the movement and have a better knowledge of the different roles and skills that can be developed within the movement.
- Communicate better about the roles to be filled in local groups, collectives and national circles.
- Create and strengthen personal links between the national recruitment circle and local groups.
It is essential to implant a regenerative culture, i.e. the culture of "taking care of" (self, rebels, community, our planet), of developing positive feelings and building relationships. This culture allows us, among other things, to face the various difficulties we encounter (tensions between members, psychological stress, police violence, doubts...) and to emerge from them stronger and more united.
The main objective is to make the movement sustainable and resilient (capable of overcoming trauma), a place where we feel safe and which pushes us to surpass ourselves. A movement with a regenerative culture ensures that (1) people feel comfortable and respected, (2) the community can be formed organically, stimulating each other's strength and wisdom by working together, (3) addresses problems, manages conflict and learns to become stronger by doing so.
With a view to strengthening the practice of regenerative culture within the movement, here is what can be implemented within our movement:
- Reflecting in our way of living together, interacting together, building together, a resilient community that prefigures the future we want.
- To appropriate the circles of empathy and to pass on this tool to other groups so that its use can spread throughout the movement. This tool helps to prevent tensions in groups or to calm them down, it helps to welcome emotions, trains active listening, is useful for debriefing an action, reinforces bonds...
- Appropriate and transmit a range of tools such as facilitation (of a meeting, an assembly ...), debriefing, stewards, Work that connects (Johanna Macy), non-violent communication... and this by means of training (from the national group to local groups, between local groups...).
- Developing the spirit of the Festival (as with XRUK or XRNL).
- Encourage the presence of guardians of regenerative culture within each group and circle.
- To encourage the setting up of spaces and moments dedicated to regeneration: such as a weekend in the green, an evening of board games, a singing workshop, a Spanish hostel, a dance... in short, moments of fun, where you get to know the rebels of your group or of another group in circumstances other than the preparation of an action, moments that leave room for the creation of friendships, moments from which you come out reinvigorated.
This point asks us to reflect on the relationships of power and domination that can take place within the movement, to put in place a real welcome for every person with each of their specificities and to question ourselves constantly.
Here are some ways of putting these values into practice:
- To think about ways to allow accessibility and security for various groups (women, LGBTQI+ people, racialised people, elderly people, families, people with disabilities, people in precarious situations, undocumented people...) in our movement.
- Through training (why not, inspired by what is being done at XR UK), to reflect on the dominant oppressive beliefs and structures within the movement and work towards their dismantling.
- Create Talks (small XR conferences) with different inputs, to reach different target audiences (e.g. 5G, anti-speciesism, eco-feminism, North-South relations...).
- Work on simplifying communication by using more accessible language. For example, avoid using too much jargon and make messages as simple and direct as possible.
- Develop linguistic & digital inclusiveness by being aware of linguistic thresholds and working to simplify and reduce communication channels, as well as training rebels to use them.
4. TO FLUIDIFY AND STRENGTHEN THE MOVEMENT'S INTERNAL COORDINATION & COMMUNICATION
As a self-organised and decentralised system, each of the groups and circles is autonomous in making its own decisions. We will work together to simplify and strengthen communication and coordination between national groups, local groups and collectives in order to create a supportive and effective network.
Within the Extinction Rébellion movement, we value the sharing of tools, skills and experiences that each member, thanks to its particular qualities, can put at the service of the community.
We strongly encourage different groups and circles to work together and cooperate on various projects. We want each member of Extinction Rébellion to feel surrounded and strengthened by the whole community around him/her.
In order to strengthen communication and make coordination more fluid, we propose the following:
- Facilitate access to information by questioning the multiplicity, accessibility and efficiency of internal communication channels and tools.
- Reinforce coordination between local groups (between Brussels groups, between French-speaking groups, between Dutch-speaking groups, between national circles and local groups, between collectives and local groups, etc.) by encouraging meetings between these different groups and by making the actions and activities of each one visible both externally (facebook - XR Café - XR Talk - website, etc.) and internally.
- When taking a decision in their role, rebels have a responsibility to seek the advice of those with experience in the field or those affected by it. Encourage and facilitate this request for advice.
- Organise national assemblies where people from all local groups can come together, meetings between different groups and collectives, times for people to meet and share.
- Facilitate the communication of each other's actions by creating a web page on the national website where all the actions, open meetings, workshops... of all groups and circles would be listed. As on https://extinctionrebellion.uk/act-now/events
When all Belgian local groups join forces, we are able to bring together a significant number of participants, but our organisational and coordinating capacities are not multiplied in the same way. This is a major obstacle preventing XR from gaining momentum and has the consequence of exhausting the resources and energies available in the national circles, which are then no longer able to fulfil their other functions (support, training, link with the international movement, link between local groups, etc).
In order to be able to envisage national actions on a larger scale than we have organised so far (e.g. waves of rebellion involving thousands of participants over a week or more), we need a much larger number of rebels to have the availability, experience and confidence to organise large national actions.
It is essential to aim first of all to significantly amplify the capacity of all local and collective groups. Thus, by spring 2021, the energies and resources available in national circles will be devoted to helping and supporting local and collective groups in the organisation of more ambitious local actions.
This increase in capacity will be achieved in three ways:
- Develop an "Action Kit" for local and collective groups (menu of actions - different types of actions - design examples - actions to be favoured/avoided - legal information - visuals - press releases - slogans...) => example: https://xrscience.earth/
- Delegate an experienced rebel from the national action circle to temporarily join a local group or collective to help organise an action or develop a campaign strategy.
- Facilitate the transmission of action information between local and collective groups
- Collect examples of best practice, including reporting on actions that did not work well or were too risky.
- Provide a hotline for rebels to request and pass on information at the local level.
- The national circle records and highlights the actions of local groups in the context of the overall story.
- Promote the interconnection of local authorities in terms of action strategy on concrete targets in order to prevent further destruction of ecosystems by the current system and draw the attention of the general public to ecological crises (For example: Ineos in Antwerp, Groene Delle in Limburg, La Sablière - ZAD in Arlon, Watching Alibaba in Liège, 5G, Black Friday-Advertising...).
- Develop popular assemblies as a method of action in coalition with other movements and/or in connection with collectives. They are then organised in symbolic places without authorisation (e.g. the seats of political parties or local parliaments).
- Strengthen the interconnection between local groups by collaborating in fundraising for similar local activities and actions.
- Converge with older movements.
- Make the links XR has with other movements visible.
- To develop and promote specific coalitions linked to different collectives.
- Establish strong links with other movements and organisations (anti-racist, feminist, social movements...) in order to inspire and be inspired by others, to show meaningful solidarity, to join forces when necessary.
- Encourage local groups to carry out actions directly related to their territory.
- Encourage local groups to invite other local groups to take part in their action in order to be able to carry out larger-scale actions, as was the case with Ineos Will Fall.
- Encourage local groups to create coalitions with other local actors.
- Create a personal link between the national action circle and local groups so that the rebels in the national circle can give local groups the benefit of their experience in organising actions.
- Facilitate contact between local groups and the legal team and train local groups in legal briefings.
- To set up coaching & training in civil disobedience which is the specificity of XR.
- Develop the skills of local groups in action design (creation of a narrative, creation of a strategy, facilitation, logistics, essential roles, imagining different scenarios, scouting, ...).
- To train local groups & collectives so that they can raise funds independently.
- To develop the skills of local and collective groups in press relations.
A longer-term political and action strategy is needed in order to be able to organise our efforts in a coherent way and move towards acceptance and implementation of our three demands.
This would be done in two stages:
The political circle of XR Belgium is given the mandate to propose a process for the development of a long-term political and action strategy. This process will define how the strategy will be determined, reviewed and approved by the whole movement. It will be drawn up in such a way that it can be put into action in the spring of 2021. This strategy will serve as an effective guide for XR's action in Belgium, in line with the Belgian reality, the state of the ecological emergency and the action of XR as a global movement. The process of developing this strategy will pay particular attention to the integration of all the components of the movement so that it functions as a real binding and convergent force.
The discussion and revision of the ecological narrative underlying our actions and demands will be an integral part of this process. This new narrative obviously requires a thorough discussion with the whole movement (Belgian, but also beyond). This discussion will be organised in parallel with the process of elaborating the long-term political and action strategy.