Originally published: https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-chris-hedges-report-show-with-efe
Roger Hallam, the co-founder in 2018 of Extinction Rebellion, was recently released after nearly four months on jail. He was imprisoned for making a 20-minute speech on zoom. He was arrested and jailed because he called for civil disobedience by climate activists, specifically the blocking of major road networks in London. Hallam is one of the most important and fearless leaders in the climate movement. He was arrested in 2017 after spray painting King’s College London’s Great Hall. He was charged with criminal damage and fined £500. He was later cleared after a court ruled his actions were a proportionate response to the climate crisis. He led the occupation of a number of public sites in London in April 2019 and sit-down protests on major U.K. highways in the fall of 2021. Activists from his group Just Stop Oil glued their hands to the wall after throwing tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers — which was covered by protective glass — at the National Gallery in London. Just Stop Oil activists have also spray painted a number of landmarks, including the Home Office, MI5, the Bank of England, an Aston Martin showroom and the rotating sign outside Scotland Yard. Two supporters of Just Stop Oil were arrested recently at the Herbert Museum in Coventry demanding that the government stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and calling on employees and directors of UK cultural institutions to join in civil resistance against the government’s genocidal policies. Hallam has carried out two hunger strikes and been to prison three times in the past three years. The Metropolitan Police, in his latest arrest, accused Hallam and Just Stop Oil of planning “reckless and serious” public disruption. The British High Court, in an effort to prevent further acts of civil disobedience, has issued an injunction to prevent Just Stop Oil protesters disrupting the flow of traffic. Blocking traffic, or assisting anyone who blocks traffic, now means activists can be held in contempt of court and face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and the seizure of assets. But, as Hallam and Just Stop Oil warns, “Humanity is at risk of extinction, and so is everything we have ever created. Our works of art, our favorite novels, our historical buildings and artefacts, our traditions – we’re terrifyingly close to losing everything we value and love. We cannot rely on our criminal government or our cherished institutions to save us. Our government knows that new oil and gas means a death sentence for billions, yet they are continuing with plans to license over 100 new fossil fuel projects. This means more heatwaves, more crop failure and more death. It is criminal, an act of genocide against billions of people in the poorest countries on earth, and an act of war against the young.” “Either you are actively supporting civil resistance, Hallam goes on, “fighting for life or you are complicit with genocide.” Joining me to discuss the climate emergency and what we must do to save our species, and most other species on the planet, is Roger Hallam.