Monday, 15 April 2019


A feral wind had blasted the sea and the land all night – ploughing waves into avalanches and sending spindrift explosions over the walls of Penzance and Newlyn harbours -  After about two hours sleep I awoke focused on the day that had finally come – the day I intended to get arrested – with my 84 year old mother – in a non-violent direct action over the climate-crisis which was to be a Cornish prelude to the International Rebellion Week that kicks off in London in two day-s time – 15th April 2019 -  This is the Rebellion against the Extinction of life on Earth – which is where we are fast headed unless the World-s governments drastically slash carbon-emissions and other forms of pollution and we change the entire culture of human existence - - -
I had two nagging issues with this Direct Action – One was concern over the wellbeing of my mother – who I felt had let her conscience lead her into very difficult territory and the other was my background sense of guilt for neglecting my partner in activism – my brother Harold – the “Caged Crusader” of Florida – who languishes in prison – serving out his 165 year sentence for thieving – I took a copy of his first book – Department of  Corruption with me to read in the cell – I thought I would write him from the cell too – But things panned out differently -   I thought often of my friends in USA and how I had been meaning to write and explain to them about Extinction Rebellion – I have a lot of friends in Florida – where the Red Tide of algae has been killing myriad fish and making the beaches toxic – The reality is that the human rights and justice situation in the USA is so grim that all my friends there are focused on civil rights – justice – prisoner-s rights and police-brutality and murder -  This work – unpaid and often dangerous – demands everything and consumes vast amounts of time and energy – leaving little time for environmental activism for many people –
At eleven o-clock half a dozen of us congregated in the sharp wind to leaflet the people passing through the centre of Penzance – Our signs were in danger of flying off into the swirling sky – There was some interest and some indifference – Jane showed a great oratorical talent and proved that when you-ve really got something to say you don-t need no microphone!  There was good spirit between those present and if low-key the event was extremely heartfelt and sincere – It felt like we were literally calling to our neighbours – trying desperately to warn them of the danger the planet is facing from climate-chaos and general toxicity and so many people just do not want to hear that -  In today-s neutered culture we have long been conditioned to only trust messages that come from “official” channels – not those that are called out from the heart in the streets of our towns and cities -  
Due to the severity of the wind – there were not many punters around even though it was Saturday -  We did what we could and I think we certainly reached a few people and I hope we made another little ripple to spread through the minds of our friends and neighbours that perhaps there really is something to this climate-change business - - -
Well Verity showed up and as the demo unwound we hit the road for Eastern Green – on foot and buffeted by this wild prowling wind of the sea -  We crossed the road by the garage or “gas-station” that we intended to blockade and briefly mingled into a bus-queue so we could suss-out the situation before engaging in our action to combat the carbon-driven asphyxiation of our planet -  Then we walked onto the forecourt and stood in front of the pumps as a human-barricade -  After a brief quiet interlude things started happening fast – I think it was the very first car that I blocked that started the trouble – An elderly couple – the man seemed overwhelmed with fury at my obstructing his vehicle and simply kept driving right at me with no apparent intention of stopping -  Everything narrowed down to a windscreen rolling towards me as I shouted “stop” and I heard other voices shouting out – Just as the car was about to strike me I thumped the bonnet with my fist then held up my sign as a shield obscuring his view -  This finally stopped him from crushing me -  His wife looked very shocked – The old man jumped out and there were remonstrations and accusations of assault – His car had become a deadly weapon – My cardboard information-sign was the shield I had to protect myself from being crippled by his car -  From this point on things went from ugly to hideous via grotesquely eldritch – As the punters started rolling in – I soon found myself being driven at or fronted at by a big fat black four by four – This joker wasn-t going to stop either – He was already rolling down that lost highway -  This time I side-stepped at the last minute (it was Darwinism in action:  Adapt or Die) -  There was a sense of many things happening at once – Diane remonstrating with a violent motorist – Verity blocking her side of the lane with her FOSSIL FUELS KILL sign – People shouting abuse and insults – mocking and sneering -  Threats – Rednecks and hard-men – ugliness – some honking – As the assault started – the adrenalin clocked in and started work – We had spent weeks getting prepared for arrest – cellular-detention – talking with Babylon – going to court – speaking publicly about how the planetary-crisis drove our action – In my mum-s case she was preparing to face her greatest fear – the fear of being locked into a small space -  We thought we had prepared to meet the public – We had anticipated a level of abuse and hostility – We seriously underestimated the sheer ugliness of Mr Josef Public – We had not expected armed assault to be the very first reaction of these motor-head folks – The car as a weapon against a pedestrian is an unlovely phenomenon – An ignoble and crass cameo of where Homo sapiens has driven himself to in his little tin box – A mad ape in a mineral-chariot of death – Individual and planetary death – Death to pedestrians and little kids trying to cross the road – Death to innumerable myriad creatures of the wild – Death to birds insects women children and men – Death to air and plants – to solitude – peace – tranquillity and nature – Death death death conveyed to ye by the glorious automobile – Let-s all drop to our knees and kiss its little black exhaust-pipe -  
So anyway – I-ve never been too keen on cars -  My views have not changed –
The most extraordinary attack came from a fellow in a big car with his wife -  A short wide chap with a Yorkshire accent and surreal legs – They were as wide as a girl-s waist – bulbous – also taped-up – bandaged and hypnotic – “I-m disabled” he shouted aggressively as he waddled towards me with vicious and viscous intent gleaming reptilian in his unblinking yellow eye – “I-m disabled” came the Peter Kay voice “I-ve got to get to me doctor” he raged (I sensed he was lying) Even as I was telling V to let him through he was on me – A two-handed shove to the chest delivered with spluttering venom – The air was bristling with hatred and violence – Not at all like the meetings where people put their hands up to speak - - -
While all this silt was going down – another layer was developing as green-clad garage staff started emerging and interacting with us – Initially a couple of them had tried to lay hands on me but I told them that constituted criminal assault and they had no such right -  Suddenly twenty year old garage-workers were trying to argue law with me -  I-m not a formally trained lawyer but I know that a Morrison-s employee has no right over anyone else-s sovereignty – no matter if they be standing on the garage forecourt -  I managed to get them to unhand me – but five of them kept trying to surround me and impede my movement – Their effort was only half-hearted though and I could side-step them and continue to discourage cars from entering the pump-area –
At one point there was a backlog of motors trying to enter the garage and some hooligans were starting to congregate – One of the personages who threatened me repeatedly said he would assault me if I blocked anybody-s car from entering -  I did briefly explain to him about the imminent extinction of animal life on Earth but it did nothing to lessen his hatred as he then suggested I should be hung from a nearby tree by those present - 
Still shaked and slaked with adrenalin after the two car-assaults and the crazy toad-man – I was being constantly heckled and questioned by the gang of garage staff -  It did not taste nice –
Slike in USA when a fascist drove his car into a protester at North Carolina and killed him and Chump said there was “fault on both sides” there was outrage upon the nation – Well the same thing nearly happened right here in sleepy little old Cornwall – It would have been Blood On The Forecourt – or just simply Red Asphalt - - -  Happily all our blood stayed inside our veins on the 13th but there was definitely a slight level of risk and threat – plus a great deal of hostility and aggression –
We are all primates of the ego and I too was trying to impose my will – my dream – on these other primates – these other wilful and egoic dreamers with their own wishes – impulses and – er – drives -  By going against the established behaviour-pattern of these other primates I was violating an unwritten code of the somnambulists – never challenge the basic reality – never try to wake the dreamers – they will turn and rend ye – They will not thank you – they will slag you down (sorry:  They will slag I down)  They will mock I and I and their feet that never touch the earth shall stamp down upon their accelerators –
During the first car-attack I briefly sat down in front of the vehicle but instantly started getting cramp in my legs – and started hopping and limping around for a few moments as I could hear the green-clad garage staff instantly accusing me of trying to fake an injury from the car-impact! 
I remember turning to Verity at one point and saying “Where are the cops~”  I had thought they would be there in ten to twenty minutes but it seemed more like an hour before they finally “deployed” –
The lynch-mob mentality was probably defused by the arrival of the law-enforcement and I think we were both relieved to see them -  They were two ladies – apparently in their twenties and extremely courteous – friendly and polite – They were wearing body-cameras which they pointed out to me and I did not object to – I have noticed a change in police-policy – They seriously do try to act nice these days – At least where possible -  I base this on another incident when I recently saw them handling a seriously drunken man with extreme sensitivity – care and patience – I stress this because over the years I have been extremely critical of the British police – but only when they have killed – tortured or mutilated unnecessarily and I have felt compelled to address and publicize their crimes – I-ve written  copiously about police-violence and written countless letters to MPs and police-chiefs about this issue in the past so I am happy to report that “on the ground” or in the “street” their way of conducting themselves (in my miniscule experience) has evolved into a much warmer and more seemingly humane approach –
The first thing the two WPC-s did was to approach the knot of half a dozen or so garage-workers and management types in suits and start by getting their side of the story -  Even though I heard one of them perjure himself and lie about me right away – Saying I had been “jumping on cars” and had pushed him – I suppose he would rather have seen me go under that car – All physical contact was at the initiation of Mr Garyage and his diminutive yet weighty pal who initially laid hands on me before I vocally repelled them – bla bla bla –
The lady-cops explained the position as they saw it and discussed it with us – They showed concern for my mother who was very cold and no-doubt in shock by this point – She-s 84 and a bitter wind was raging – I had tried numerous times – including on the way to the garage – to try to talk her out of doing the action with me – and had some very serious concerns over it – but ultimately I felt I had no right to try to stop a fellow-activist who was on-board with the greater mission of Extinction Rebellion – from offering her contribution to a project that might give her grandchildren and their grandchildren a fair chance of living in a world with air to breathe – birds to sing and food to eat – In this movement everyone takes personal responsibility and no-one can forbid the action of another – only advise against it – How could I reject an extremely zealous and dedicated comrade – particularly when she was the only one~  I almost think that if I had cancelled the action she would have gone up there and done it on her own anyway!  She knew that was the basis I was working on – I announced the action some weeks back and I would do it alone if necessary but preferably with support – as is the whole basis of XR – a sophisticated support-system for social-reform –
So anyway – after a friendly chat we agreed that Verity should be driven home in the police-car – My advice was that she had achieved our aim and was now getting cold and enough was enough – Everyone was happy when she agreed to accept the HM Gov taxi home and I was extremely relieved that she was heading for warmth – comfort and quietness – She is usually a soft-spoken person who loves rose-gardening and literature – I know this experience was of Biblical proportions to her and I will forever after see her in a luminous nimbus of respect for what she did!  (The things you have to do to earn your kid-s respect these days!) 
So anyway – before the cops took her home they discussed the situation with me – I explained to them that my mother and I were slightly different cases and that I wanted her to go home but I wished to stay put and carry on with the “demonstration” as they were calling it -  They very patiently explained that they were very happy for me to stand “just over there” where I would not be obstructing any traffic and that I could carry on my “protest” over there -  I responded by saying I thought I would probably just continue to stand right where I was and asked them what was likely to happen if I pursued that course of action - - - They took an unusually lenient approach – I thought – when they said they would leave and that if there were further complaints about my activity then the “response might be different” – which I took for a euphemism for probable arrest -  I have to say I found them extremely fair and tolerant – extraordinarily so -  Possibly because they had orders to avoid giving publicity to the International Rebellion if reasonably possible -  On reflection though there was something I was not overly happy about and that was their response to the assaults -  They had responded well when I gave them what I call the Bug Rap – which is the heart-breakingly simply arithmetic behind the insect-decline which is at a global-rate of 2 and a half per cent per annum – which means that at current rates of “progress” all insects will be extinct in 40 years time and therefore so will be most of animal and plant life – The cop-ladies listened to this patiently and seemed to understand the alacrity of what I was explaining – The garage-folks were huddled quietly in a knot nearby – cowed by the presence of “authority” – transmuted from a jeering – taunting mob of wannabe vigilantes into a submissive group of obedient “good citizens” – giving false-evidence against the crazy-man covered in sticky weed “jumping onto cars” -  Crazy days in Cornwallfornia - - -
But when I had reported the two assaults with car (assault with a deadly weapon – as I explained to them) and the one by hands – plus the several threats of violence – her response – when I asked if they would seriously investigate these crimes – was that they could only “crime” them (cop-speak for log a crime for possible investigation) if I gave my name – Since I said I preferred to do that “later in the process” they said they could not investigate without my name so it was up to me -  Fair enough – I initially thought – But later I thought differently -  To me the car-weapon – when used as such – is no different from the knife-weapon or gun-weapon – In British law – intent of use makes an object into a weapon -  Thus a car driven rapidly towards a non-violent protester is a weapon – Well consider that the garage was continuously filming the area with their hidden-cameras – we had our own camera-lady with us for part of the action – and no-doubt some of the drivers and passengers and hangers-on were filming us -  So there is plenty of film-evidence of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon -  If the footage showed two counts of someone waving a knife in another person-s face would the cops have said they would only proceed if the victim came forward and gave their name~  Obviously not – because the victim might be dead -  Or the victim might be reluctant to come forward because of their own involvement in criminal gang-type activities – However – none of that should stop the investigations of a police-force ostensibly committed to opposing and eliminating armed-crime -  They would act on the evidence regardless and find the victim anyway -   The recorded footage shows the car number-plates so these thugs are within reach – Personally I think the cops showed an unwillingness to look at the assaults and were mainly concerned with smoothing things over – I am left with a slight dilemma -  Identifying myself to the cops is a mere formality as they know who I am – I advertised the action in the public domain after all – under my own name -  So it-s up to me whether or not I pursue actions against those three men who assaulted me as the police seem unwilling to act on the evidence on their own initiative – Again – they understand that a court-case over this incident would feed massive publicity back to the message of Extinction Rebellion and that is not yet the wish of the “authorities” -   On one hand I feel that justice should be applied and that hypothesis would oblige me to pursue the prosecutions – On the other hand a triple-court case sounds like a hell of a lot of work that I could honestly do without -  Perhaps this should come back to the root of Non-Violent Direct Action – Ahimsa – the ancient Hindu concept of a loving-kindness that leads to compassionate action -  Perhaps I should use those three ruffians as the objects of contemplation and try to feel some compassion and love towards them – I feel that might be the best way of “winning” and that is what I will try to do – (I make no promise to succeed and I can-t “fake-it”) – If NVDA is to remain pure it-s good to remember the roots –
Sometimes it feels like a cat and mouse game of chess with the cops – They know I can make a fuss and demand those assault-investigations if I want to and I know that – although they drove away giving the impression that no further action would be taken without further complaint – they could still look at the footage – take possession of the footage from the garage and – if they so wished – build some kind of case against me as a method of cooling my free speech -  Considering the political climate (and the fact that I am innocent of crime) I do not expect them to pursue me and I intend to deal with my “haters” through meditative means rather than legal ones – Nothing would give me more joy in the world than to be able to befriend someone who once hated me –
So eventually I bade farewell to my mother and thanked her warmly for her amazing fortitude -  I remember her telling the cops how she had struggled to bring me into the world and did not want to see me go under a car!  Her own mother had been born in a Tibetan monastery to English missionaries and had rode round Labrador in a dog-sleigh as a child – On my father-s side they were Vikings -  
Mum rolled home in the cop-car and suddenly it was very quiet – The cops had gone – my comrade had gone – our camera-lady had gone – the gang of garage-workers had gone – most of the aggressive motorists with their insults had gone -  the forecourt was almost empty – I was there alone – What now~ I wondered –
There was a lull in the traffic – it went very quiet – everything seemed to slow down -  Partly this must have been the contrast with the frenetic activity – violence and mayhem of just before -  As the occasional car rolled in I tried to block it but I was too small and they could simply weave round me -  I could not prevent them -  For a moment I thought I should up the ante and do something more dramatic just to get hauled away and get it over with – But then I reassessed the situation and thought we had already made quite a statement and I could not realistically do anything more alone – Why not save the government-hotel for another day and go and see how mum-s doing and get a cup of tea -  That seemed so eminently sensible that I folded my sign and walked away -  Happily the staff did not come out to jeer me off –
I walked on down the highway and soon found myself singing – it happened to be that old Irish song Dicey Riley about an alcoholic prostitute of Dublin  - lovely song! 
Checking in with my mum – I found her doing not too bad – but still cold and definitely in shock like me – so I nipped down the road to the offie and got a quarter bottle of cognac and she had some in her barley-cup -  I made sure she had food and drink and we talked a bit but we were both pretty fazed and she was going to relax in the bath so we parted after I told her again how highly I thought of her for her bravery in such horrible circumstances and her real dedication to the cause of a healthy planet - 
What did we learn from the action~  Always consider a “clothing-margin” – in other words imagine that it will be colder – hotter – wetter than your wildest imagining – because it might be!  We were under-prepared for the savage wind that came that day bringing the roughest seas I had seen in over a year - 
Camera-crew is absolutely vital for evidence-gathering -  At least two – though preferably three trained operatives needed for any direct action –
Actions should be conducted with other participants – Acting in pairs is not advisable in potentially combatitive situations – The danger or risk level of an action should be evaluated and an appropriate number of activists decided upon – The action should only go forward when this number of dedicated activists has been achieved and promised –
Don-t worry too much about the police harming you – It-s Joe Public who is probably more likely to do you over in these situations – The police might not be much amused by anarchic displays of planet-politics and civil disobedience but at the same time they know that violence against the movement will only increase public sympathy – solidarity and membership – If they can facilitate peaceful protest then it is obviously in the public interest that they do so and there has been progress on this front -  Also police tend to be well-informed on social issues and may – individually and “off-duty” – feel sympathy to a movement aiming at saving the world from the terrors of an unstable climate and a toxic environment – Many police personnel have children or even grand-children of their own and naturally want these youngsters to inherit a world that is inhabitable –
We learned that the public may not react well to being interrupted in their business and that violence may be their first – rather than their last resort -  The nature of the “target” should be carefully considered in advance – Some “targets” – in the sporting sense of the word – offer a lower level of risk of violence or strong aggression than others -  Careful evaluation should precede all and any actions –
As the union-organizers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century knew only too well – it-s all about being Organized!  There is no better medicine for the distress caused by climate-chaos than taking action – When we grieve and mourn we merely emote – necessary for sure but it does not change the world – When we step from the abstract world of thought and discussion and internet conversation into the 3D world of the streets and start taking action – in whatever form we find best – then a line has been crossed into new territory and even the smallest action taken is vastly therapeutic and healing -  From then on we have gone from being theorists and talkers to getting personally involved and thus becoming activists –
Again I think of my friends in USA who work so hard for justice in the face of such repression and State-violence -  Of Harold Hempstead – the prison-activist who risked his life to reveal the story of a Muslim prisoner steamed to death in a torture-chamber in a Florida prison – And the others who were starved to death there at Dade – Also of the other activists who are free and working so hard for those who are not – like the schizophrenics doing ten-year stretches in solitary-confinement and wearing leg-irons that leave suppurating sores on the ankles – I-m also thinking of how cool the police were here in Cornwall – in Britain – compared to what would have happened in most places – like USA for instance -  In all probability we would have been violently arrested – put on the ground – put in a county-jail to await trial for perhaps over a year in an environment where we could be raped or die from battery – or being too hot – or too cold – or too dehydrated – and all this before even standing trial -  So I consider myself lucky to live in Britain where the level of State-violence and oppression is considerably lower than USA – Though I also remember my British activist friends – I-m talking about the ones who are fighting for justice after being bereaved or mutilated by the police here in Britain – Not everyone here has been as fortunate as me in their dealings with the police and I would never want to play down the stories of my friends who have lost their brothers or sons or daughters to the brutal hands of the State -  So far I consider myself lucky but I wonder for my fellow climate-activists in Extinction Rebellion who will be in London tomorrow – 15th April 2019 – to start the week-long International Rebellion that will bring London to a halt and send Britgov a little wake-up call –
Post Script – Two days later and the storm is still raging – in fact it-s getting worse – These great storms of the sea usually used to come in December or January but here we are on 15th April and the storm is getting worse - - - - -  One hour ago the Rebellion started in London – I wish heartfelt feelings of success to all those who are out in the streets of our capital – struggling to get climate-chaos put firmly at the top of the government-s agenda -  I believe we must all do whatever we can to help this process along -  Not so long ago I was in Truro – Cornwall – at the Funeral For Extinct Species and I heard one of the inspiring speakers there mention the fact that in the recent past you would expect to have a lot of insects splattered on your windscreen after a summer-drive but now you no longer have this occurring -   Well I learned at the garage two days ago that if you bug motorists they will happily try and squash you like a bug and you might find yourself splattered across their windscreen like a cadis-fly of old -  

As we go forward with the XR campaign there will be many things to learn – If our dedication to peaceful and non-violent activity remains strong then we can achieve far more than we yet realize -  We can be a real voice for nature and for the survival of the planet – and not just a voice but a helping hand – or rather a vast forest of helping hands – stretching round the World – reaching out to connect with each other and cooperate in protecting the World – the myriad life-forms – the endless fruition of nature – the life – the life of the planet – the very life - 

Monday, 1 April 2019


This blog explains why I am getting involved with Extinction Rebellion and encourage everyone to join or found a group in your own country - Nature does not worry about borders - languages and ideologies - and today-s threat to nature is an international and truly global problem that we all face together -   No matter how busy we are or what other activities we are dedicated to - the sad fact is that the seriousness of the situation before us demands participation from all of us to limit the damage caused to our World -
I put this blog-post together in a simple way:  I simply picked out a series of quotes - each referring to a different aspect of the World Ecological Crisis and made each one a link to the article from which I got it -   I hope this post is not too overwhelmingly depressing and shocking for people - I always believe it-s better to know and face facts - however unpleasant they are - At least that way you have the option of doing something about it if you choose to!   Also - many people have found it to be true that the best remedy for a depressing problem is to take some form of positive action against it - as Joe Hill put it - "Don-t Mourn - Organize!"  and I think that is a good way to look at the horrors of climate change - air and oceanic pollution - melting polar icecaps - thawing tundra - toxic groundwater - desertification -plastic-particle pollution - deforestation - and all the other terrible wounds inflicted on our natural world - as seen in the frightening decline in insect populations around the globe and so many other tragic indicators of ecosystem-collapse -
Please read with an open mind - consider the information and then consider taking action -  The future survival of our natural World (including us) is in the hands of us all and without very strong and immediate affirmative action the World which our children - grandchildren and great-grandchildren inherit will be an unthinkably degraded and toxic dump in which the concept of a pure and healthy natural world will be either a historical memory or a whimsical Utopian dream for a remote future -
The governments of this World - who were created allegedly to serve the people - are often part of the problem rather than facilitators of the solutions to this World-Crisis - Due to the urgency of this crisis and the sloth of the British Government - a state of rebellion is being promulgated throughout Britain and the World - A peaceful rebellion - dedicated to combating the ineptitude of the authorities over the environment and constructively engaging with them to initiate solutions - This is a rebellion inspired by our collective duty to protect nature - our planet and all the life-forms that have no voice or vote in the business of the World -  The rebellion-movement is informed by peer-reviewed science and a respect for demonstrable fact over rumor and speculation -  The movement seems to be based on an understanding that facing the climate-crisis is difficult and painful for many people and has evolved support-systems so people can help each other in a sociable way as we learn what we can do together to help save Mother Earth -
If the British and other governments around the World were doing their duty and protecting the interests of not only citizens but the very ground that feeds and supports us all - then us "ordinary citizens" would not have chosen an approach of rebellious protest and civil disobedience - we would not have had to!  However things being what they are - and governments being what they are - and particularly in view of the very extreme gravity and urgency of the situation - the view of the international Extinction Rebellion movement is that there is no choice but to apply pressure on the authorities to wake them up and engage them - 
Overall, the study found that Antarctica now sends six times more ice plunging into the sea each year than it did in 1979. During the 40-year period of the study, Antarctica added 13.8 millimeters to sea level, with the majority coming from West Antarctica.

Scientists warn of 'ecological Armageddon' after study shows flying insect numbers plummeting 75 per cent