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How to build an eco-zealot The Just Stop Oil revolution is failing

(DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)


November 24, 2023   7 mins

The saboteur arrived before the protest. A young man in a tracksuit stood alone in the middle of Trafalgar Square, holding an orange sign that read: “Just ligma bosack.” I assumed it was a puerile piece of counter-protest, but it wasn’t even that. He was one half of a pair of vloggers who’d come to infiltrate and undermine the demonstration, all for prank-ish YouTube content. It was a bathetic start to the supposed centrepiece of Just Stop Oil’s autumn campaign: a month of protest during which almost 600 people have been arrested in 21 days.

This one lasted barely 21 minutes. A group of 50 centipeded past Nelson’s Column, some in Berghaus fleeces, some in moth-eaten donkey jackets, and all in hi-viz orange vests. Fewer than half of them, the “arrestables”, took to the road at the speed of a hearse; the rest remained on the pavement shouting support. And the moment they hit Whitehall, the police began to pick them off. The entire column was kettled onto the pavement, each orange beset by four or five yellows: wrestled, handcuffed and scooped into the waiting vans. The police worked from back-to-front, leaving the dwindling vanguard of the column to pace resolutely on, like captured admirals walking the plank. One woman on the pavement was crying, cursing the police, cursing the burning planet. But those under arrest were placid, serene, unblinking. They lay there quietly as the police took their details and unbuckled their watches into evidence bags. 

Eventually, the only person left was a tiny old woman, still clutching her banner, and shuffling down the street. “Is there anything we can do to make you leave the road?” the police asked. She didn’t reply. “Gentle,” someone shouted as they swarmed her too. “She’s 80 years old!” “There’s plenty more people to be arrested,” one of the organisers called from the touchline. “This is not going to stop.” The combination of farce, dauntlessness and misallocated courage was unmistakable. After months of background hibernation — occasional snooker stunt aside — Just Stop Oil are back. Today, tomorrow, and the day after, they are repeating the above process, churning phalanx after phalanx into the rough embrace of the Metropolitan Police.

This is the radical fringe of the climate movement, which will come to define the coming decade of politics, if not the century. It’s aiming at a political revolution. But for now, it still sits somewhere in a Venn diagram of risible-meets-despised in the collective mind. First there was Extinction Rebellion (XR), which briefly captured the public mood before squandering it in a symbolic clash between working-class commuters and middle-class activists at Canning Town Tube. Then Insulate Britain emerged as an extreme splinter, dissatisfied with the slow progress of XR. Finally, defeated on the motorways of Britain, it morphed again. Just Stop Oil is the latest phase of evolution: its nimblest, most creative and worthiest form yet. 

There is overlap between the groups — one woman in Trafalgar Square confides that she’s there in breach of contempt of court charges dating from the Insulate Britain protests two years ago. But each name-change has been accompanied by a detectable lurch in timbre. XR’s 2019 protests were comparably joyful, colourful, carnivalesque. Their successors strike a more militant mood. You can read the difference in the logos. XR’s: a jagged hourglass; a stop sign. “Time is running out.” Just Stop Oil’s: a weeping, staring, chop-fallen skull. “This is humanity’s deathly future.” 

Between them these groups have made the threat of interrupted football fixtures, Heinz-splattered artwork and choked highways a new part of daily life. But they remain outside of politics, at best a parasitical feature of public debate. And, like any other radical movement of our time, they are an eccentric receptacle for wayward political anger.

This round of marches has been in the works for months, and JSO recruited hard in anticipation. On a dark and blustery October night, I went along to a welcome meeting, held in a cinderblock discussion space just off Brick Lane called Newspeak House. There were about 100 perched on secondary-school chairs, ready, or at the very least willing, to join JSO’s merry men. 

Here such climate fears are mobilised; here they are put in uniform. The star speaker was Roger Hallam, Extinction Rebellion co-founder and Just Stop Oil’s in-house eschatalogue. He was there to tell us how bad it all is — in fact how it’s much worse than we can possibly believe — all delivered in his distinctive rambling, potty-mouthed, and wilfully apocalyptic rhetorical style. “It’s not gonna be a choice between it being ok and it being shit; it’s a choice between it being shit and it being so fucking shit you can’t possibly imagine!” The scroll of doom he unfurls is essential to understanding this movement. In 1968, radicals were told to take their desires for reality. Now, they take their nightmares for prophecy. 

Hallam leans heavily on the 20th-century horror imaginary for his figurative conjurings. The Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, atrocities in the Congo — they’re as nothing compared with the moral crime and mass slaughter our political elites are carrying out right now. This religious imagery — Hallam’s mother was a Methodist preacher — is now the lingua franca of the movement. They too talk of “genocide”, even of “reckoning”. We have sinned against our planet, and now we must be punished. Perhaps, as the Christian climate scholar Catherine Keller has written, only “theology
 articulates what unconditionally matters”.

Hallam’s showstopper claim is that if we breach two degrees of warming above pre-industrial averages this century, “one thousand million” people will die. This is the end for everyone, everywhere, and animals too. The “sixth extinction” is already underway. 

But, Hallam told us with a wild grin, “once you find yourself in that police cell, you know you’re doing the right thing”. I looked around Newspeak House and saw nodding heads, and flashing, inspired eyes. A young activist then outlined the strategy. The plan was to “slow march” on roads until the government caved to our demands. The target for each of us was to get arrested five times. And, he yelped excitedly at the end, “When you’re in court, say ‘fuck you’ to the judge!”

How do you turn a muddled mob into a militia? With “nonviolence training”, held in a cosy Quakers’ reading-room in central London. Not since I crept the boards of youth theatre have I faced such a punishing gauntlet of breathing exercises, “chairs to one side”, and choreographed morality tales. But this is how the campaigns that have immobilised our cities for the last year and a half are war-gamed and strategised. Arranged in a circle of chairs was a medley of Just Stop Oil regulars. Veteran Greenpeace-niks, lifelong RSPB-donor twitcher-types, dyed-haired student-radicals, school-leavers stranded on a domestic gap year. And — still overwhelmingly the spine of this movement it seems — the white middle-class middle-aged. Well: who else is free for this sort of thing on a Wednesday afternoon?

This crowd was very much the newly converted. They explain how they’ve learned to feel climate guilt at having had their children, or, discussing road accidents caused by JSO marches, exclaim that such incidents are the fault of those who continue to choose to drive. These feelings are here to be diverted into the studied dispassion of “nonviolence”. The protest philosophy attempts to plot a third way between violent action and apathy, resisting and disrupting in such a way that avoids causing harm. Blocking roads is thought to be a method of causing disruption without utterly alienating Just Stop Oil from the wider population. 

On our feet, we marshalled for the battles we’d face on the road. What do you do if a driver agitates that they’re losing work because of the protest? Calmly apologise and explain that you’re here to protest the climate crisis. And if someone claims they’re driving someone to hospital with an injury? Groups must use their discretion. The level of anticipated confrontation was uncomfortable for most of the people there. And this is where that eerie stupor of detachment that seems to possess JSO activists on marches comes from. It’s a form of withdrawal from chaotic surroundings, submerged beneath the moral demands of the movement.

“I don’t understand why we’re marching on the roads at all,” one women said. Why don’t we challenge the supply-side of the fossil-fuel industry instead? The trainer explained that in April last year, JSO activists blocked the 10 largest oil terminals in Britain with hundreds of activists and forced ExxonMobil to suspend operations at the sites. The demonstration generated little media coverage, and was quickly forgotten. It was deemed a failure.

Just Stop Oil claims that its arrest tactics are meant to place pressure on the judiciary and police, compelling the state to concede its demands. But the new powers given to the police in the Public Order Act have made arrest a formality, as it was this week on Whitehall. It’s clear that the strategy really is to convey a form of scandal-symbolism — which is also why artworks and now church services have become fair game. And this places the group in an uneasily dependent relationship with the motorists it disrupts and the “Right-wing” media it so resents. It needs the rage and the coverage to make its protests worthwhile. Shock can only carry you so far though. This round of arrests has been reported, but generated nothing like the commotion of XR’s 2019 campaign, let alone JSO’s earlier efforts.

But they’re not after everyone. Just Stop Oil has inherited XR’s aim of converting 3.5% of the population to the cause, a numinous figure drawn from a study of protest movements that showed inexorable social change flowing after that point. But many of the social movements they take their cue from (including JSO’s own hall of fame: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela) took place in pre-democratic or semi-democratic societies. Resorting to civil disobedience is a more obviously moral option when the ballot box is sealed. But to stage an occupation of something as quotidian as a B-road, justified or not, comes across as a statement of political superiority, arrogance even.

The climate writer Richard Seymour has argued that Extinction Rebellion represented one variation of “technopopulist” politics — a genuinely grassroots campaign which nonetheless advocates for solutions located above and beyond usual party politics. Just Stop Oil is another example of this scrappy phenomenon, which emerged as a symptom of the very social failures it seeks to redress. Speaking to tearful activists on pavements of Whitehall, they gnash and rage: “We’ve tried protests, we’ve tried petitions, we’ve tried everything
” But as the road is quickly cleared and the cars start moving again, you have to ask the obvious question: is this changing anyone’s minds either?


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starkbreath
starkbreath
7 months ago

I’m sure JSO has changed a lot of minds, from ‘Hmm, maybe they have a point’ to ‘Goddamn, these people are assholes’.

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
7 months ago
Reply to  starkbreath

to “what a bunch of c…. !”

William Shaw
William Shaw
7 months ago
Reply to  starkbreath

Yes, it has changed minds.
Any sympathisers they once had are now vehemently anti-JSO because their method has irredeemably tarnished their message.

Last edited 7 months ago by William Shaw
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
7 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Unherd’s billionaire owner (and also co-owner of GBNews) has $2.2bn in fossil fuel investments. I.e. he certainly doesn’t want to stop oil any time soon. Always worth bearing in mind whenever you’re reading this publication or watching gb news. As with politicians in the pockets of banks – follow the money and you’ll know their ‘principles’ before they’re proclaimed.

George Locke
George Locke
7 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Thanks for the biography, but that doesn’t make Harris’s article less convincing or make me develop any sympathy for JSO.
A lot of ordinary folk don’t want to stop oil any time soon either – not because we’re pawns being manipulated by billionaires, as might be the predictable reply, but because we can smell the austerity this would entail by a mile away.

Last edited 7 months ago by George Locke
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
7 months ago
Reply to  George Locke

Yes I don’t think pro-environment policies should be implemented regressively either – they should focus on projects that enrichen rather than impoverish ordinary people e.g. don’t tax petrol, but do develop green industries that create skilled jobs.
Am heartened as well that you are critical of austerity which impacts the worst off. I trust then, that being consistent in this view, you didn’t vote for any of the Conservative governments that have unnecessarily inflicted it upon us these last 13 years while reaping in the benefits for themselves and their cronies?

Last edited 7 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
7 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Thanks for telling us that an oil investor also invests in media which promote broadly centre-right policies including free speech. Sounds like a great bloke.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
7 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

So GB News, presented by, among others, Farage, Rees-Mogg and now Johnson (the last two members of a party which has clamped down on multiple freedoms, such as the right to protest and withdraw labour), which doesn’t meet Ofcom’s requirements to qualify as ‘news’ and which has advocated the illegal Rwanda deportation policy, is an example of media which promotes ‘centre-right’ policies that enhance freedom?
Unherd I’ll admit at least makes some effort at accomodating a broad church of commentators but GB News is a government mouthpiece not worthy of its name.

Last edited 7 months ago by Desmond Wolf
John Riordan
John Riordan
7 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Whether a successful investor takes a stake in a fossil fuel business is a separate issue entirely from whether they support decarbonisation or not.

Waffles
Waffles
7 months ago

Someone should start a group called Just Stop Just Stop Oil.

They have no perspective or nuanced thinking. You need to balance the possible consequences of climate change in the future against the known immediate consequences of stopping oil today (billions of deaths and societal collapse).

Fertiliser comes from oil. It sprayed by tractors using diesel. Transported on lorries using diesel and planes using aviation fuel. Without oil there would be blackouts, lack of refrigeration. They wouldn’t get their organic hemp seeds, flown in fresh from Peru; it would be a diet of turnips and carrots, a medieval diet of UK-only food (a time when people were significantly shorter due to malnutrition).

I would love to know what their master plan is for the day after we all stop oil, and how many people it could sustain. Do they expect people to meekly agree to starve to death, quietly at home, or will it be Darwinian carnage, a global bloodbath where only the strongest survive? Why does the BBC never ask these questions?

The only solution is technology. A rapid scale up of Small Modular Reactors (super safe super advanced fission nuclear power) to tide us over until we develop fusion power.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
7 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

If global warming was really a problem, the government wouldn’t be playing politics like they are. All of their plans are wedge issues to get votes from vote heavy jurisdictions.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

It’s weird they can’t connect the dots. I struggle to wrap my head around that.

starkbreath
starkbreath
7 months ago
Reply to  Waffles

How about Just Sod Off?

R M
R M
7 months ago

The “sixth extinction” is already underway.

Perhaps I’m out of touch with more recent scientific consensus, but I was under the impression that even professional groups whose role it is to monitor climate change, like the UN IPCC, do not believe human extinction due to climate change is a likely risk.

So this is where groups like Just Stop Oil stop being climate protestors and become a millennial cult. Throwing paint around in art galleries a direct action version of those “The End is Nigh!” sandwich boards you once saw.

The thing with millennial cults is that when the apocalypse fails to turn up to schedule, the public soon loses interest.

Last edited 7 months ago by R M
Martin M
Martin M
7 months ago
Reply to  R M

You do get to reschedule the date of the apocalypse a few times though.

Heather Simpson
Heather Simpson
7 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

They must be going for the record.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
7 months ago

“Just Stop Oil is the latest phase of evolution: its nimblest, most creative and worthiest form yet.”
I’m planning to start Just Oil to spread the word that fossil fuels are the best thing to ever happen to mankind.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

Fossil fuels are the best thing to happen to mankind. We’d still be using oxen for power and burning trees for heat otherwise.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago

Activism is all about the activists, rarely about the actual cause. If oil was ‘stopped’ today, they would find something else to whinge about.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Starvation, for one thing.

William Shaw
William Shaw
7 months ago

Almost entire economy would be shut down.
95 percent unemployment.

Last edited 7 months ago by William Shaw
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

So how do you think you acquired most of your civil rights and liberties? Reckon they were just handed down on a plate by powerful people who decided they wanted less power or were they fought for from below? Or do you wish those whob had fought for them never had because those people were just a bunch of self-serving activist busybodies who should have let the powerful be?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

For activism to work it needs to spring from a need to uphold universal rights for all people. Much of the activism we see today is boutique activism. It makes participants feel good, even if their particular cause is naively stupid or massively unpopular.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

I can’t imagine devoting so much blood, sweet and tears to a cause and know absolutely nothing about it. Do they know climate related deaths have dropped 94% since the 1900s and continue to drop year after year? Or shutting down Britain and the entire west won’t prevent a rise in CO2 emissions? If they really want to make a difference, they should agitate for nuclear energy. That would resonate with more people.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Western liberals are never going to allow the poor people of the world to have the cheap energy they need. We’ve lost thirty years of progress on nuclear power because hysterics like Caroline Lucas, who doesn’t even have an O level in a STEM subject, shrieked so long and loud that we gave up and abandoned it.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

They should all go agitate in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico/ USA, China…that will stop the cult in its tracks! Same with Saint Greta. Stop coming to the UK. Start travelling to the great polluting nations on the planet and see what reception you get there!

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago

Making a nuisance of yourselves through annoying disruptions is not persuasive. It is merely annoying.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
7 months ago

They’re just a bunch of narcissistic attention-seeking inadequates.

The cause means nothing to them. It’s part of an “omnicause” which is no more than a background for their deluded self-image.

As humans, they’re failures, propped up by misguided tolerance. In the animal kingdom they wouldn’t have lasted out their first year of life.

Just a waste of skin and bone.

Bruce Williamson
Bruce Williamson
7 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Not ot mention oxygen 


Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 months ago

I wish that, just once, an interviewer confronted by a JSO activist making absurd claims, would slap a copy of the latest IPCC report on the table and ask: ‘show me in here where it says that’. I’ve never encountered a climate hysteric who can actually produce solid evidence for their apocalyptic predictions beyond repeating the nonsense that Hallam, a certifiable nutter, spouts during his incoherent rants.

Harry Child
Harry Child
7 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

They probably cannot read. Just tell them that their gas, electricity, water, clothes supply and transport will be cut off so they can genuinely claim their righteous living free of oil and its products.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

Roger Hallam is usually seen as the brains behind XR and Just Stop Oil. In his more candid moments he has been open that he is more interested in overthrowing the existing system than climate change – not least because he thinks the latter is a lost cause. He spent years studying revolutionary change at King’s and his formula appears to include

1/ the belief that if radicals can get the whole heated commitment of even 3 or 4% of the population then dramatic change is possible 

2/ the starting point is to attract attention by being a nuisance

3/ then using the media to stress the moral superiority of the protestors – given their willingness to go to prison – thus attracting more followers i.e. a twenty first century updated version of Gandhi’s tactics. 

4/ A number of other subsequent steps

Irrespective of what one thought of their demands, XR was very effective. It made climate a top 3 issue and forced politicians of all stripes to pay attention. Since Hallam was kicked out of XR, however, his successor vehicle has been far less successful. I think he has been overdoing the nuisance bit and singularly failing to get people to see himself and his followers as Gandhiesque saints. Instead they have come over as slightly deranged and selfish. It makes one wonder if some of the other quieter leaders of XR were not as important to its successes as Hallam. I suspect he has had his 15 minutes of fame but perhaps he will get a trial which enables him to play the martyr.

Last edited 7 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Do you by any chance actually know this fellow? A contemporary perhaps?

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

Not personally but a friend does and thought he would interest me so I listened to surprisingly candid lecture he gave when he was riding high.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Thanks.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
7 months ago

It is unfashionable to suggest that the Met or Home Office get anything right but they seemed to have judged this one well. Allowed the really extreme types enough time to alienate the public then drafted some new laws and carted them off. If one considers how much support XR was getting at one point and the risk of generating martyrs – which was part of the strategy – then maybe they should get some credit for once.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Agreed, a great improvement.

Steven Targett
Steven Targett
7 months ago

Climate change is as old as this planet. It is constantly changing which is why we are not buried under glaciers or sweltering in planet wide tropics. Species come and species go often as a result of climate change eg the wolly mammoths. Instead of trying to imitate King Canute and turn back the inevitable they would be better off thinking of coping strategies for what will have to deal with.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Steven Targett

King Cnut’s point was the precise opposite of that which it’s portrayed as.
His point was to show his subjects that, in fact, he didn’t possess the power to turn back the tide, and thus make their demands upon him less onerous.

james goater
james goater
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s always worth making that correction. It would be interesting to trace exactly why that ancient tale got so completely turned around.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
7 months ago

These affluent spoilt brats impose heavy costs on sociiety, and should be held financially liable for that.

Jane H
Jane H
7 months ago

Wait until the WHO get their legally binding Global Pandemic Treaty signed off by almost 200 countries next June. They will then get their teeth into declaring a ‘climate change health emergency’. Just Stop Oil disruption will pale into insignificance once their restrictions come into effect.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
7 months ago

I don’t understand the logic. If people are going to die in mass because if human made warming, wouldn’t an equilibrium be achieved in time?

Paul T
Paul T
7 months ago

The problem is that the left – because “they” are always bedfellows of the left – are deeply enamoured of the monosyllabic and utterly politically and socially moronic idea of the change they want, without debate and whatever it is “NOW”.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paul T
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
7 months ago

The thing about climate change is that CO2 concentration of 400 parts per million (OMG! PER MILLION!) reads a lot bigger than 0.04 percent or one in 2,500.
And you did know, you peaceful protesters, that C3 photosynthesis stops at 150 parts per million in the middle of an ice age. Right?

Last edited 7 months ago by Christopher Chantrill
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago

Or that under 250, all plant life dies.

Martin M
Martin M
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“400” is a big number though, and “a million” is an even bigger one.

John Caddle
John Caddle
7 months ago

The truth is that the UK is doing a relatively good job in reducing oil consumption. I’m sitting here about to fly (apologies) back from 3 days in UAE. This is where JSO should concentrate their efforts. After three days stuck in traffic jams from hell, I think “we are all doomed” no matter what we do in the UK.

Martin M
Martin M
7 months ago
Reply to  John Caddle

Excellent idea! JSO should protest in Saudi Arabia and UAE!

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
7 months ago

Nuke ‘em ‘til they glow.

Steve Everitt
Steve Everitt
7 months ago

Please make punching JSO activists legal.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
7 months ago

Annoying people by interfering with their busy lives is not going to work. Only an unstable person could think otherwise.

Nardo Flopsey
Nardo Flopsey
7 months ago

Like the endless stream of lefties who oppose bombing civilians in Gaza, they have no practical alternative to offer. It’s easy to see difficult choices in simplistic terms, when one has no skin in the game. As George Carlin observed many years ago, “If you want to see humanity return to the stone age, take away electricity for one month.” It’s difficult to gamble on avoiding long-term chaos, when short-term chaos can be easily envisioned if we are to follow the advice of the JSO types.
What if the uncomfortable truth is that NOBODY has a clear idea of how to transition away from fossil fuels? Supplies are in decline, regardless of the spins JSO or their conservative opponents put on things. Long before oil runs out, the price will begin to rise, as it has been, and various economic activities will become untenable. Nuclear can potentially solve most of the grid-power challenge, but does nothing for the liquid-fuel challenge. Solar and wind are rather dubious.
The most efficient way to transition from fossil fuels is to allow economic pressures to spur innovation, as in every other area of technology. Neither panicking about climate change nor insisting that oil & gas are sustainable indefinitely is addressing this problem. Nor is insisting that we can keep on expanding wind and solar deployments and hope that things will improve at some later date. Every month there is some breathless news story on a revolutionary new type of grid battery, but it’s mostly just vaporware.

Last edited 7 months ago by Nardo Flopsey
Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
7 months ago

It’s clearly politically pointless and meaningless. The purpose of it is to act as a form of self-therapy for dimwitted middle class people

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
7 months ago

JSO opened a lot of people eyes. Genocidal cult crowled into the open where everyone could see them and ask the question: what JSO would really mean for the poor and the people who consume 1% of energy of the avarafe houshold in Europe or America. Genocide, plain and simple.

Chipoko
Chipoko
7 months ago

Just Stop Oil activists = ‘eco-zealots’? More like eco-fascists.

James Kirk
James Kirk
7 months ago

Same fools camped outside Greenham Common years ago. Did no good.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
7 months ago

The Canadian Green Party lost half their front bench in ‘scandal’ over accidental misgendering. XR take time off to protest ‘TERF’ academics in Bristol. XR activist academic at Jesus College Cambridge (arrested for the cause) has a side hustle in direct action to prevent Helen Joyce doing a talk on sex-based rights another Cambridge college. Saint Greta of the West Bank….Quebec Green candidate disbarred because of pro-life commitments. Climate Action conference starts with a discussion of pronouns. It’s almost like people who say they are convinced that human civilization is in an existential struggle to survive, don’t actually believe it. They certainly don’t seem to think it is essential to build the broadest coalition in support of actions that will hurt and certainly generate high levels of class conflict and polarization. Who the hell needs Catholics, people who live in Alberta (or Middlesbrough, or Dresden), Christians, old-fashioned feminists, conservatives, classical liberals….or just middle of fetch road normies. Climate crusaders must be pure of heart. They’re the chosen ones. I think it is time that strategically minded environmentalists got their house in order, or accept that their best intentions will be consigned to historical irrelevance by the company they keep.

John Riordan
John Riordan
7 months ago

Robert Conquest’s observation that the best way to explain the behaviour of many organisations is to assume they’re secretly controlled by their enemies seem to be relevant here.

XR, JSO etc are so good at alienating the people they claim to want to persuade, that it is difficult not to believe that their real intention is to make everyone love hydrocarbons. In my case that’s pushing an already-open door of course, but there are millions of people who aren’t presently aware of exactly how stone-age their lives would become if we stopped using hydrocarbons at any point in the next hundred years. These activist organisations not only infuriate decent people who are just trying to go about their lives, they are provoking a global debate on the subject in which millions of people are educating themselves on the issue and discovering that there is no prospect of stopping fossil fuel reliance without economic collapse, social breakdown, and eventually the deaths of about 75% of humanity, probably including themselves.

For me and many others, who knew this already, we couldn’t have come up with a more effective way to win an argument than this.

Last edited 7 months ago by John Riordan
ELLIOTT W STEVENS
ELLIOTT W STEVENS
7 months ago

“Just Ligma Bosack”. That’s probably the best, most sane, and most worthy response to the psych-ward-escapees of JSO.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
7 months ago

Just stop oil really needs to sort itself out and change its tactics, but we still have the right of peaceful protest in this country and we mustn’t let authoritarianism take that away from us.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

There is nothing peacefull about harassment, sabotage and all these sort os middle class harassment tactics.

William Shaw
William Shaw
7 months ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

Walking in the road is not acceptable peaceful protest.
Holding signs on the pavement is totally fine.

Robbie K
Robbie K
7 months ago

If only they had the same kind of PR machines as BP and Exxon then they would make the kind of impact they intended on the debate.

Saul D
Saul D
7 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

They have billions of government and international organisation spending backing the green message – they are pushing at an open-door politically – look at the billions being spent on renewables and carbon credits.
The problem is that people on the ground – regular folk – are increasingly skeptical because of the name-calling, exaggeration and daily costs they see (blaming Big Oil being another exaggeration). Just Stop Oil then simply adds to the skepticism by associating ‘green’ with ‘unfriendly’, ‘antisocial’ and ‘inconvenient’. The public becomes more ‘anti-green’ because of their actions, not less. It is entirely counterproductive to their cause.

Robbie K
Robbie K
7 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Totally agree, they have gone about it all the wrong way with their partisan approach, which may feel to them like they are doing something tangible but the result is a fail.
What they need is a PR company to come up with something legendary cynical, such as one’s ‘carbon footprint’ – which is of course the creation of BP, and subtly shifts the blame from them to the individual.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I’ve seen lots of Exxon and Shell commercials preening about their commitment to reducing emissions. Can’t quite recall the ad campaign questioning the science.

Ralph Faris
Ralph Faris
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Read a former, serious environmentalist, Michel Shellenberg, who now takes the view that radical environmentalists are indeed generating widespread antipathy to the cause and thus will fail to convince the public of any threat if indeed one exists. Doomsday approaches, unsupportable as they are, merely generate distrust of the media, public figures and experts. Of course, it doesn’t help that doomsday never happens.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ralph Faris
Martin M
Martin M
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Don’t forget BP! Even their logo is green!

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
5 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

If they are not bright enough to reach that obvious conclusion one has to wonder about their other conclusions, and the quality of thought in reaching them.