Europe’s leading climate activists are planning a ‘full-scale civil disobedience campaign’ of highway blockades, hunger strikes and disruptions to ‘federal property’ in the US in August, DailyMail.com can reveal .
Leaders of Extinction Rebellion (XR) and other European groups known for large-scale disruptions are rapidly expanding their US-based franchise, Declare Emergency, to wreak havoc on this side of the Atlantic.
In a videoconference, attended by DailyMail.com, the Europeans taught their American allies how to raise funds, increase membership and recruit dozens of ‘stoppable’ members to lead the most aggressive protests.
In Europe, these groups have rounded up tens of thousands of protesters and crippled cities, causing millions of dollars in losses, but it’s unclear if they can replicate that success on this side of the pond.
“What we want to do is create a full-scale campaign of civil disobedience over the climate catastrophe in the United States,” XR co-founder Roger Hallam told the online gathering of a few dozen activists based in the USA.
European climate activism has led to violent clashes between protesters and police, such as this month’s demonstration against the use of oil in Hoogvliet, the Netherlands. The organizers want to bring this to the United States
Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam (left) wants a summer of climate protest in the United States. France’s Last Renovation activist Thibaut Cantet says it’s vital to get activism in America off the ground
Roger Hallam (top left) told Declare Emergency members how to raise their profile and attract members to the United States
Hallam, who co-founded XR’s US-based sister organization Declare Emergency last year, said he raised $1 million last week and set out plans to aggressively recruit 1,000 members. in the coming weeks.
The veteran activist, speaking from the UK, said his organizational tactics were “not that complicated, worked in many countries and we see no reason why they shouldn’t work in the US”.
Though small, Declare Emergency has made headlines in recent months, including when two members coated the case of a Degas masterpiece in Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art with paint in April.
They also blocked roads in the capital and in Maryland and gathered outside the home of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer in New York. Several members were arrested and fined; art gallery protesters face jail.
But to date, the group has not matched the scale of climate chaos in Europe, including XR’s week-long series of rallies in London, which closed drowned bridges and shut down much of the city center , causing millions of dollars in losses in 2019.
Members planted trees in Parliament Square, glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace and other landmarks, vandalized artwork in major galleries and closed runways used by private jets.
Although many people support efforts to fight global warming, others avoid the tactics of XR and other radical outfits, which have closed roads, highways, airports, offices and other public places .
Hallam said such massive disruption was possible in the United States, citing the decades of civil rights protests that changed attitudes about gay rights and led to the mass protests for racial justice against the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
Declare Emergency, which wants President Joe Biden to declare a national climate crisis and use his executive powers to dramatically reduce pollution, is coordinating with overseas activists through the so-called A22 Network.
Declare emergency protesters Tim Martin (left) and Joanna Smith, both 53, face jail time for smearing red and black paint on the case protecting Edgar Degas’ little dancer aged fourteen years at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in April
Police fire water cannon at Extinction Rebellion activists blocking the A12 in The Hague for the seventh time in May
This group includes the latest French renovation, which temporarily halted last year’s Tour de France cycling race, and the latest German generation, which has been repeatedly raided by German police in recent weeks as ” criminal organization”.
Another network member, Just Stop Oil, arranged for two members to throw tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s sunflowers at the National Gallery in London in October last year.
During the teleconference, members of Declare Emergency did not say what protests were planned, but discussed hunger strikes and freeway disruptions, such as those organized by Save Old Growth last year around Vancouver. , in Canada.
Protests would be focused in Washington and New York, they said.
Tim Martin, the social media organizer for Declare Emergency, who has been charged with conspiring to damage the Degas statue at the National Gallery of Art, said he expected more attacks on people. “federal properties, such as museums”.
“We hit a deal there…so that’s a good thing,” said Martin, 53, of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Although American activists made headlines, several members spoke of the difficulty of staying consistent and complained of getting bogged down in tests of “ideological purity” rather than taking action.
Last Renovation activist Thibaut Cantet, speaking from the south of France, said it was vital to launch European-style climate protests in the United States – the world’s biggest economy and the biggest polluter of greenhouse gas.
An Extinction Rebellion protests against the use of fossil fuels in the City of London, a major financial hub, in May
An activist sprays paint on London’s Guildhall during the Extinction Rebellion summer protests in London in 2021
“Nothing will work if it doesn’t happen in the United States,” Cantet said.
The FBI did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
In recent weeks, European climate activists have gathered 60,000 protesters in London and derailed the continent’s largest private jet show by chaining themselves to planes to protest the sector’s carbon emissions.
Protesters stormed Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in November and blocked private jets from taking off, while others drove around the runway where the jets were parked, disrupting the flow of traffic for wealthy travelers .
UN experts say global warming gases are making the Earth dangerously hot, but the US, China and other world governments have set ambitious targets to reduce the risk by switching to sources of clean energy over the next few years.
Americans are less concerned about climate change than their European counterparts.
While 31% of Americans want to quickly switch to renewable energy sources, two-thirds want to continue using oil, coal and natural gas as well as cleaner alternatives, according to a Pew Research Center poll.