The following is a compilation of the comments taken from the feedback received from local groups / collectives / national circles on the initial proposal of the strategy.
We did our best to synthetize all the feedback. Due to lack of time we were not able, as we had hoped, to provide a naked explanation for each of the proposals or criticism that was not integrated into the final strategy. We apologise for this!
¶REGENERATIVE CULTURE & TRAINING & DECOLONISATION ¶
////// - should focus on regenerative culture and integrate it into the strategy¶ /// - promoting and living XR values (putting into practice resilient lifestyles in local areas) ¶//// - Creating space and dialogue on accessibility and safety for diverse groups: also making sexism and patriarchal systems questionable and visible, creating spaces where people are heard and also where people want to listen where they are not aware of the hurtful consequences of their behaviour. Pacifying groups¶// - creating circles of empathy ¶// Propose trainings, also on the spot with local groups: For example, facilitation, NVDA, intro XR, SOS series, empathy circle + training, debriefing, Rain 101, emotions of the earth, well-being of action, ...¶ // - organise workshops on regenerative culture ¶ // Greater attention needs to be paid to decolonisation in the national strategy.
¶ACCESSIBILITY OF MOVEMENT
¶/////////. we are difficult to access for many people: digital search - underestimated language thresholds - simplification and reduction of communication channels - difficulty in accessing information¶//// - involving people beyond our white, academic and middle class circles ¶/// - Talks with different inputs (to reach different target audiences: 5G, anti-species, Patriarchy...) could be created. XR Talk should also apply to events and meetings of other organisations.¶ /// There should be a web page on the national website where all actions, open meetings, workshops, etc. can be posted. Like on https://extinctionrebellion.uk/act-now/events/
/ - the base is under-used ¶// - The abundance of emails and readings to be done on basecamp is far too much and does not help us to create a united movement. XR Belgium it should be all of us.
¶MOMENTUM & ACTIONS ¶
////// - national action in parallel with local actions (e.g. prepared 6 months in advance with an education campaign around the target and objectives - in convergence of struggles, well thought out, artistic, media) - national actions can also be centralised at local level¶//// - no acceptance that the momentum is over - create the momentum, don't wait for it ¶ /// - Too much reflection and not enough action ¶// - National action = Means of mass recruitment ¶/ - National action = Expenditure of bcp of energy - (review creation process?) ¶/ Have short and precise guidelines on which actions to avoid and why (e.g. tags on the royal palace or other buildings) and which ones to favour and why. ¶// - Local groups can organise actions with the support of the national circle. ¶// - XR People's Assemblies in themselves can be actions in their own right by holding them in places accessible to the public.¶ // - 5G or Black Friday, as well as the omnipresent publicity that encourages over-consumption, can be short-term targets for concrete actions. ¶/. The style of XR actions also deserves to be cultivated, improved, with its own aesthetic and visual characteristics.¶ /. Safeguarding the aspect of civil disobedience which is part of XR's genes and distinguishes us from other organisations. ¶/. that the locals organise, each in turn and in alternation with Flanders for example, a national action, with the support of XR Belgium according to the needs expressed by the local organising the action.
// - EU government institutions in Brussels. We are in the best position in the EU to draw attention to EU policies, so we have to assume this responsibility. ¶// - how can we fight for the global south? Activating north/south reflection
¶//// - communications in the field of XRBe must be radically simplified, decarbonised and decapitalised. Use a more accessible language (e.g. regenerative culture not understood - decolonise too abstract) ¶// - What keeps you from getting involved in XRB: the journey time to Brussels and finding a balance between XR Belgium and other commitments¶ / problem of perception of national circles perceived as being uprooted from local issues
/ - The festival spirit of XRUK or XRNL is missing at XRBe¶ / Provide for a twinning system where experienced national rebels give a new (local) rebel a chance to double the bet (be double? - translation?). In this way, tasks are distributed and the new rebel can gradually ... ¶/. The most important point is the lack of links with XR Belgium.
/A member of XR Belgium should go to the premises, in "real life" this would help to create a stronger link.¶ /. The locals do not know the national structure, do not put a face to the pseudonyms.¶/. XR Belgium should become more professional with the hiring of a few permanent staff.
¶AID TO LOCALS¶
/// - XR Belgium can be a kind of "starter kit" that every local group needs. This way, it does not have to be rethought every time (e.g. xr talk, art, starter kit, database with visuals for social media, photos, expertise for larger civil disobedience actions, legal information). More tools for local groups. And simple things ! ¶/ - focus on making connections between locals¶ / Use examples of local effects of the emergency. ¶/ - creating a kind of "menu" can be to give ideas to local groups. For example: Vision actions, Beautifully designed actions (art), Regenerative actions - On instagram you have xrcomsci and they give a very nice visual overview of all means of action.¶ / - Provide a helpline for rebels to ask for and pass on information at the local level. ¶/ - XR Belgium can pass on information about local actions and activities to other local groups. ¶/ - Organise a time and place where people working on certain projects (e.g. translation) can get together to ask questions, support each other or simply work together. ¶/ - Make sure that people participating in national groups are not overburdened, otherwise they have to withdraw from local groups because they have too much work. As a result, we lose the link between the local and the national level. ¶/ - Gather examples of best practice at national level, including reporting on actions that did not work well or were too risky. ¶/ - Organise meetings where people from all local groups can come together.¶ / - Offer moments of exchange between local groups or on certain topics. ¶/ - Open meetings in local groups, where you can go from another group just to participate and see how they are doing, what they are doing, etc. / - Open meetings in local groups, where you can go to another group just to participate and see how they are doing, what they are doing, etc.¶ // - Stimulate the Buddies system between rebels from different groups. ¶// - Listen to what is happening in the local groups and put the right people in touch, so that they can organise something together rather than with each other. For example, learning how to do silk-screen printing, organising empathy circles together, ... ¶/. support for local groups is mentioned but only includes support for organising actions and amplifying the message.¶ /. further build the capacity of local groups by organising fundraising training once a year for local groups and providing ongoing ad hoc support to ensure that local groups can raise funds independently ¶/. strengthen the interconnection between local groups by collaborating in fundraising for similar local activities and actions ¶ /. further consolidate some of the national processes related to fundraising and in particular monitoring, by proposing a simplified process for collecting information from local groups and national circles.¶ /. To really collaborate, it is also necessary to create links between local people. For example, having ambassadors who are regularly present elsewhere and can make the link.¶/. If the French-speaking part of XR had more meetings of its own, this would help to build cohesion and motivation.
CONVERGENCE & RADICALISATION
¶///// - importance of cross-sectoral struggles and convergence with other groups
/ fear of dispersion and dilution of discourse
/ Trying to radicalise other movements (YFC) => towards civil disobedience
/ Converging with older movements
/ - work on a narrative that defines more radical and disruptive actions to expose and stop destructive activities, while pushing for the third requirement.
/. It is also important to make XR's links with other movements visible so that XR appears less threatening.
/. simple "in the nails" demonstrations for urgent causes are quite inconsistent with our approach to civil disobedience
/. more possibilities on small actions (attac, greenpeace etc)
/. Integrate in the XRB strategy the support to collectives as planned for local¶
/. Facilitating the transition from affinity groups to collectives¶
/. Promote communication - visibility - around the collectives/GAs both externally (facebook - XR Café - XR Talk - website...) and internally (communication channels: base-matermost-basecamp?).
/. Develop and promote specific recruitment & coalition operations with the different collectives /. Facilitate the creation of new affinity groups and collectives
/. To develop at local level popular assemblies linked to the themes of the affinity groups and collectives.
¶CREDIBILITY - COMMUNICATION - IMAGE
//// - XR has an image problem (perceived as extremist, police violence or teddy bear) ¶approach "personalities/influencers/ scientists" who could give credibility to our movement, ¶/ communication outside the XR networks, presence in the press, organisation of conferences with scientists or via the media¶ / better work on the image, re-appropriation of the name (already negative connotation?), use of the logo, turning to the outside to present oneself, the reason for our actions. ¶/ We can make our vision known to the outside world by summarising it in a number of simple "slogans". ¶/ XR should be able to bring more of its own version of the story to the media.¶ / - develop a public reference website where the issues we are working on would be exposed and illustrated in accessible terms ¶/ Are there XRBe communicators ready to invite journalists to remind them of their responsibility regarding the environmental crisis? Is there a reflection on this subject within XR Belgium? If Le Soir or La Libre had the same commitment as The Guardian, where would we be?¶/. It is important to have a concise and easy to address communication to the press and not to risk it turning against us. Suggestion: organise webinars or set up a reference library.¶/. become a reference on climate reality? rather relay to reliable sources and use didactic tools in actions with children, for instance
¶/. the use of the Belgian political crisis to push forward demand No. 3 on Citizens' Assemblies must be handled with care in order to build something credible and not sow confusion¶
/ - Advocate to politicians for a shock treatment worthy of the ecological crisis
¶// no one knows how to hold a citizens' or popular assembly, so this seemed a very ambitious priority (to get in coalition with other movements already advanced on the issue)
¶////. The climate crisis should remain central and does not prevent a broadening of the discourse.¶
/. The climate emergency is enough to mobilise people on basic principles ¶/The broadening of the narrative is welcomed and should go further in order to be consistent with the extent of the ecological collapse.
¶/. the change of narrative represents an intellectual debate that is far from being of concern to many of its rebels
/. keeping the message simple, XR is not a think tank
¶/ reformulate our 3 demands: the 2nd is still very much linked to the climate.¶
/ Invite more scientists or outside personalities to speak on this subject within our movement.
¶/. The new narrative is very good but it opens up a lot of questions about our discourse and actions.