Newsletter Switzerland, July 2020: No Going Back!
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The coronavirus has confined the world, the struggle for civil rights is pushing it back onto the streets. In the background, the climate and ecological disasters are accelerating. These difficult times call for courage and empathy. In many countries, rebels are prefiguring the world they wish to see, and have launched local and international solidarity initiatives in the face of the pandemic. In this newsletter, discover the regenerative culture events organized by our local groups, open to all. No one is alone, no one is powerless.
Telling the truth is more important than ever. In this newsletter, we show you how rebels in Switzerland and around the world continue to sound the alarm for our ecosystems, in the streets, on the walls, on the web. But telling the truth also means saying this: the environmental disaster is built on centuries of colonization of peoples, exploitation of workers, and brutal resource extraction. To tackle such an Absolute Clusterfuck, the rebellion must be nourished by sincere conversations between people with different social realities, and between people in the North and the South. In this newsletter you will also find resources and webinars born from these conversations!
Acting now so that Switzerland achieves carbon neutrality by 2025 is imperative: if a country like ours is not able to decarbonize its economy in an emergency, when do we imagine that countries in difficulty will succeed? Will there still be time, then, to prevent the collapse of the ecosystems that sustain us? Rebels refuse a post-covid return to “normalcy”, and the devastation wrought by “business-as-usual”. The Federal Council has just shown that, when faced with a health emergency, they can take decisions that are both quick and drastic. Faced with the ecological emergency, we demand two additional adjectives: that they be just and democratic!
Citizens’ Assemblies allow people to deliberate in their diversity, to find just solutions. It would have seemed hard to believe at the time the Rebellion began in 2018, but Citizens’ Climate Assemblies are now multiplying in the world! At the national level, the French and the English assemblies will be reporting their conclusions in the coming days. In Switzerland too, the idea is gaining ground. In this newsletter, you will find the latest news from the working group on assemblies, and resources to better understand their potential.
Finally, in this newsletter, we tell you about the latest actions in Switzerland, upcoming events to put in your calendar, and news from local groups and working groups. They need your help! We all have something to contribute.
Because if you don’t rebel, who will?
And if not now…
With love and rage,
Anaïs, Sylvain, Rodan and François, the newsletter beehive
Anouk, Sabrina and Slinky Rebel, translation team
You would like to see the work of your group featured in the next newsletter ? Write to email@example.com.
- Rebellion in action
- News from the working groups
- Join the rebellion!
Rebellion in action
(Photo: XR Gambia)
The month of April should have been spent on the streets during in an international rebellion, it was spent at home because of Covid-19. But the love, compassion and rage to protect that inhabits the rebels also expressed itself in the face of the pandemic. Local initiatives have flourished everywhere. Rebels have organized themselves to support and inform their communities from Geneva to Gambia to England, the latter launching a support platform : Alone Together. International solidarity is also at work, notably via a fundraising by XR Global Support, to help groups in difficulty due to facing two simultaneous existential threats.
April International Reflection
The April rebellion in Switzerland should have staged a number of round tables - the programmation rebels transformed them at a moment’s notice into online seminars, with the help of the UNIGE Students Association for Sustainable Development. Find out more about these exciting discussions between researchers from the ETH, the University of Zürich, University of Lausanne, activists and actors of public and political life, with questions from the public.
- Heading for extinction - what to do about it?
- What does the “extraordinary situation” declared in times of covid tell us about the “climate emergency”?
- Citizens’ Assemblies, democratic innovation in practice
- Change, after the coronavirus
(Behold the feat : they all have simultaneous translation to English!)
The last meeting was a very open debate between Genevan politicians and a member of XR, on the topic of “What will Geneva look like in 2025”, at the invitation of Extinction Rebellion. This led to the project of creating a citizens’ assembly in the city of Meyrin!
References and additional resources are available here.
No Going Back ! Pas de Retour à l’Anormal !
These are pivotal times, and much will depend on the actions taken in the wake of the global crisis caused by the pandemic. It is critical to keep the climate and ecological issue front and centre. After the initial state of shock and awe, rebels have demonstrated their resilience and organized the #NoGoingBack campaign.
- Act 1
(Photo: XR Fribourg)
During the confinement, posters bloomed on the walls of Lugano, Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg, Zürich, Biel, Neuchâtel, Vevey and Bern. In Fribourg, even the government buildings in the city ask #NoGoingBack. Piece of cake, really.
- Act 2
(Photo in front of the parliament in Yverdon: Keystone)
When politicians started deconfining themselves, the rebels were waiting for them. In Geneva, Lausanne, Biel… In the canton of Vaud, political life restarted in Yverdon on May 12th, and 20 rebels from the Elders for Climate, Doctors for XR, and XR Youth were waiting for the politicians, surrounded by 250 pairs of empty shoes. These shoes were a materialization of the haunting presence of Covid victims, but also of the absent, the most vulnerable, the voiceless, and those who are already dying from climate and ecocide crimes.
- Act 3
(Photo: Susanne Keller, Bern train station)
The daily routine slowly resumes in a deconfined Switzerland… On May 29th, silent rebels called for avoiding a return to (ab)normality, in the stations of Zürich, Lausanne, Bienne, Bern, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Geneva, Delémont…
**Act 4: June 20th Zürich Occupying the Quai-Brücke**
(Photo: XR Switzerland)
On Saturday the 20th of June, the Quai-Brücke, facing Lake Zurich, was blocked by more than 400 rebels for 3 hours.
It was the first major blockade action in German-speaking Switzerland. The motto? Don’t look at us, join us: we need everyone on deck to avoid a return to a “normality” that kills us!
The blockade action was peaceful and colourful, multilingual thanks to the massive presence of rebels from the rest of Switzerland, populated by children, accompanied by music and short presentations from different points of view (science, civil society, medicine, agriculture) on the ecological emergency and its effects. The rebels are keen to give a public voice to those directly affected by the climate and ecological crisis.
Faced with calm, compassionate citizens expressing their legitimate fear and anger at their government’s inaction, police intervention has been particularly heavy. A first for an XR demonstration in Switzerland: the presence of armed anti-riot forces, and the kettling of rebels with metal fences (also impeding the circulation of trams, bikes and pedestrians, demonstrating that defending the mobility of citizens is definitely not what motivates the operation…). Rumour has it that some anti-riot policefolks are still wandering around Kreis 1 in search of the riot in question.
In total, more than 250 people were checked by the police. The brave arrestable rebels who were the anchor of the blockade were roughly carried away by the police, one by one, and several were brought to the police station. To send them love, gratitude or encouragements, write a note to firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you have been checked yourself and have not received any legal information from XR Zurich, write to: email@example.com. And to continue to put pressure on a government that is once again using its police to protect its ecological inaction, write to the elected representatives who are supposed to represent you, and join the rebellion!
Lausanne, living city (campaign in 4 acts targeting the City Council)
It has been more than a year since the canton of Vaud declared the climate emergency, and no emergency measures have been taken. It has been more than a year since the Climate Strike submitted proposals for action to the municipality of Lausanne, and they haven’t been taken into consideration. We want to make Lausanne a living city!
On the 19th May, as part of the national No Going Back campaign, rebels from XR Lausanne handed a letter to the City Council demanding immediate and drastic action, namely: to schedule the implementation of measures to eliminate private car traffic by 2025, to create affordable alternatives creating a healthy and lively urban space, and to set up a citizens’ assembly drawn by lot this year.
The campaign, in 4 acts, consisted of a weekly reception of the City Council, and several hundred rebels engaged in various actions, like critical masses on bicycles, artistic performances, or a picnic on a road. The City Council is now having a summer break, and it is to be hoped that when the new school year begins, well stirred by the hullabaloo of the citizens, well simmered by the great heat, its members will cook us a nice climate emergency plan. And the rebels will be waiting for them, come hell or high water!
Doctors for Extinction Rebellion
They were seen, sporting their white bibs, in the arms of the police carrying them away from the occupied Place Saint François in Lausanne in December. They were spotted awaiting City Council members this spring. On bicycles in Geneva. Blocking a bridge in Zurich on June 20th. They can also be found giving rebellious seminars at universities and medical schools. Finally, they are taking care of our health. Barely out of the worst weeks of the fight against the pandemic, Extinction Rebellion’s health professionals are putting their fierce resilience and compassion to the service of the ecological fight.
On Saturday, June 27th, Doctors for XR held their first official action in Lausanne. A powerful artistic and informative performance, making tangible the link between the environmental catastrophe and the worsening of health problems of people around the world, from asthma to heart attacks, to thirst and starvation, and of course, to emerging infectious diseases such as Covid-19. The action brought together 80 people, including Jean Martin, a former cantonal doctor from the canton of Vaud, and can be found along with their future events on their Facebook page.
Actions around the world
(Photo: Péter Lakatos, XR Hungary)
Let yourself be inspired by the courage and creativity of rebels around the world ! You’ll find their actions in the international newsletter and the XR Unchained blog. In particular, let’s celebrate the very first newsletter of XR Africa, the union of XR groups from 20 African countries, and their statement on World Africa Day on May 25th: “We’re wearing masks, not gags! The emergency was business-as-usual”.
Also deserving special mention: tens of thousands of Australian rebels are about to launch a massive disruption campaign of a scale similar to the UK’s, and inspired by Hong Kong!
Finally, XR-UK’s head start means that their websites are a trove of resources and ideas that we encourage you to check out regularly, then to bring the nuggets you dug out back to the Swiss rebellion! For example, why not try out door-knocking in your neighbourhood with your friends, thanks to these highly motivating guides, for instance to invite them to the next XR talk? Learn how to turn conflicts into sources of transformation, not division, thanks to the work of the group on “Transformative Conflicts”. Show up at interactive seminars, workshops and discussions online on Reset TV? Or sign up for the Rebellion Academy, a site for learning all the basic skills you need to make the rebellion come alive, and find your favourite role. You’ll find everything there, from civil disobedience to group facilitation, from running a citizens’ assembly to how to approach people on the street for sincere conversations, from de-escalation to arrestee-support!
You can find our upcoming actions, welcome meetings, trainings and conferences on the calendar of the national website, and on the Facebook pages of your local groups!
#NoGoingBack Feel the crisis, embrace your feelings, step into action!
July 18th, Bern
You are invited to Bern on Saturday July 18th for a national action of the #NoGoingBack campaign. Embracing one’s feelings, when faced with a crisis, is the best way to overcome difficulties, feed your determination, and spring into action! Following its title, the action will have 3 parts, with different focuses. Only the first one has mild legal risks. Are you looking for thrill? Emotional support and empathy? Empowering conversations to build a better future? You’ll find all of that in Bern on the 18th! More details, and the possibility to register, here. Any question? Ask firstname.lastname@example.org.
In local groups
Non-Violent Direct Action training: July 25th
Meeting for folks already familiar with XR : every Wednesday!
Newcomers welcome: every Tuesday!
Informal welcome and various animations: July 16th, August 20th, September 17th
Newcomers welcome: every Wednesday!
Non-Violent Direct Action training, adapted for yound people by XR Youth: July 15th
Regenerative culture, initiation to meditation: July 19th, 16h-19h (contact email@example.com)
July 11-12th, week-end of trainings including: Horizontal organization – Non-Violent Communication – To be a “police contact” – Giving the XR conference – Coordination of non-violent direct action.
Newcomers welcome: July 8th, July 25th, August 12th, August 29th, September 9th, September 26th
Conference : “Heading or extinction – and what to do about it”: July 14th, August 18th, September 15th
Non-Violent Direct Action training: July 4th, August 22nd, September 12th
Newcomers welcome: August 7th
Empathy circles: July 30th, August 27th
- Solothurn – Olten
Newcomers welcome: July 7th
Conference: “Aufstand, oder Aussterben?”: July 14th
Open general assembly: July 7th
Newcomers welcome, and conference “Aufstand, oder Aussterben?” (in German): July 11th, July 21st, July 28th, August 4th, August 18th, August 25th, September 8th
Newcomers welcome, and conference “Heading for extinction – what to do about it?” (in English): July 14th, August 11th
August 22nd-23rd, week-end of training, including : Horizontal organization – Non-Violent Communication / Being a peacekeeper during actions – Being « police liaison » – Giving the XR conference – Coordinating non-violent direct action - Taking part in non-violent direct actions – XR DNA - Being a spokesperson. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-Violent Action training offered by Climate Strike: July 9th 17h, July 17th 17h, August 15th 11h. Info channel: t.me/Aktionstraining.
They are just starting, so go say hi on their page and share it far and wide! And keep an eye on it, since they are about to announce their very first action. It will take place on August 29th!
… are having a short summer break, but check them out and their future events coming soon, by following their pages!
- All Switzerland (on the web, in English)
Understanding XR’s DNA: July 22nd
- On the web (discussions and trainings in English)
Empathy circles, reflexion on XR’s 10 principles and values
Introduction to arrestee support
1 to 1 Deescalation & Nonviolence – Non-Violent Communication Breathing Training
Large Crowds De-escalation and Nonviolence
XR DNA Training
Regenerative culture workshop, in English
Regenerative culture workshop, in German
Roots of regenerative culture
The work that reconnects
Empathy circles, what are the values of empathy?
Oppression, movement building and our relationship as activists
News from the Working Groups
Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) WG
The NVDA team of trainers took advantage of the sanitary break to improve the training and adapt it to the specificities of Switzerland! The training now lasts 6.5 hours because several new features have been added. Come and discover them, all around Switzerland! See our catalogue here.
“Heading for Extinction” talk WG
A team of rebels is about to finalize a new version of the XR conference on the ecological and climate crises, and the strategy behind the rebellion! Find the next dates on the pages of your local groups, and bring your friends, neighbours and family! Would you like to organise an XR conference in your city or community? Contact your nearest local group to find a speaker. We will always encourage you to attend the conference in person, surrounded by other people, because it is when coming together for mutual support that we become strong. Of course, there are online versions of the conference as well. Find here the last version of XR UK (25min).
Citizens’ Assemblies WG
We’re not enough and we’re recruiting, especially since it’s taking off, folks!
In February, it was in a conversation with President Sommaruga herself, on the set of Infrarouge (RTS) (47:30), that our rebel Sonja introduced Citizens Assemblies as a solution to political blockages. While the president seemed somewhat hostile to the concept, we will make this change, as knowledge and support spreads among the population and elected officials.
Already, the city of Meyrin (GE) has expressed interest in organizing a local citizens’ assembly on climate, following a very open video debate between politicians from the canton of Geneva and a member of Extinction Rebellion!
The theatre of Luzern offers us the possibility to stage a real citizens assembly in 2021 (looking for volunteers to participate in the project!).
A coalition with other movements and actors is being studied within Nova Helvetia.
Coming soon: a conference on citizens’ assemblies adapted to Switzerland. Invite us to give it in your community, and why not learn how to give it in your turn! In the meantime, to learn more about the principles of assemblies, you can get started with a look at our website, or at the resources already available on our public cloud.
We’re hoping for a bunch of motivated people to join us to shake up Swiss democracy, and make it capable of managing its biggest crisis! We need help to write guides, make flyers, create advocacy networks, communicate on social media, organize talks, meet elected officials… The list is long and every energy is welcome! For more, contact email@example.com.
Art & Material WG
Your local group always welcomes all matters of creative and handy folks!
Help! At the moment, Bern is especially in need of a helping hand to prepare the material for a national action on July 18th. The theme is “Accepting feelings in the face of the crisis and taking action”.
For some months now, rebels have been taking part in “Embellir les rues - Strassen verschönern” by posting one poster a month all over the country, each time created by a different local group. Find the graphics here.
For music lovers: Music Declares Emergency now exists in Switzerland! Join this community, determined to make the music industry less disgus… more ecologically sustainable, and use their art as a platform to sound the alarm! It is part of a larger movement: the cultural sector was the first professional community to declare a climate emergency. Find their work here.
The Pleiads: the strange colourful characters that sometimes sculpt their emotions during XR actions now come in several colours! The Red Pleiad in Fribourg, the Blue Pleiad in Lausanne. Here’s a tutorial to join the procession!
The ecological crisis is an injustice, its deliberate aggravation a crime. Bringing the fight into the courts is therefore essential! In January, the truth was told and heard at the court in Renens (VD), where the activists of Lausanne Climate Action who had occupied Crédit Suisse were acquitted in a historic victory.
But we need you, readers! Most of our local groups are struggling to form a legal working group. Why? 1. let’s be honest, for a small group just starting out, contacting lawyers is a little more daunting than finding out where to print cheap flyers; 2. the laws differ from canton to canton, so national mutual support is difficult. So if you have contacts with people who know about laws, convince them that this is the fight of their lives and put them in touch with the nearest local XR group!
Special announcement from Lausanne and Fribourg: to all the rebels who have not yet contacted us after having received a criminal order following an action with us, please drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
Solidarity with worldwide demonstrations against police repression. Here in Switzerland, many rebels among us have been privileged enough to live their lives for a long time without realizing that repression can affect people simply fighting for their fundamental rights. We recognize that we owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have been fighting for justice, especially against oppression and racism, for longer than we have. In the case of environmental activists, criminalization and violence are increasing around the world, reaching particularly atrocious levels against Indigenous people and people of colour. In Switzerland, too, repression could be stepped up: on June 17th, the Parliament voted a vague and arbitrary anti-terrorist law, that has been condemned by Amnesty International and the UN for violating human rights.
Regenerative Culture WG
Taking care of ourselves, others, and our environment. Weaving deep and honest alliances on this basis, to rebuild harmony with the Earth and its inhabitants. This is the vision that guides our rebellion. Our local groups regularly offer events open to all, such as eco-anxiety workshops, empathy cafes and discussion groups. Check out their pages, and don’t hesitate to contact them if you need to talk, or if you would like to help make these kinds of events happen more often.
To go further, we invite you to a visioconference workshop on regenerative culture in 3 parts:
English: Wednesday, June 24th, July 1st & July 8th, from 6pm to 8pm
German: Monday 29 June, 6 July & 13 July, from 18h to 20h
Link here and back-up Zoom link
Doctors for Extinction Rebellion - Rebellion for Health
Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. As health professionals we have a responsibility to protect individual and population health, which is why we support and undertake actions of civil disobedience with Extinction Rebellion. Doctors for XR Switzerland was founded in November 2019 in Lausanne. Since then: we gave a conference at the Lausanne University Hospital: « Santé et climat: la nécessité de l’engagement »; we participated in the inauguration of the new pedestrian zone of St. François in Lausanne on December 14th; we gave several conferences in health schools in Lausanne… There are now members in Geneva, Martigny, Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Bern and Zurich, but no other local groups apart from Fribourg. Create your group! The Lausanne group will be happy to make its resources available.
You are invited to attend XR DNA trainings to better understand the history, strategy and structure of XR and then share your experience. Next session (in English) Wednesday July 22nd, 18:00-20:30. For more information, contact @pacharebel (from the Global Trainers Collective).
Inclusion and Intersectionality WG
Our goals? To help rebels recognize and deconstruct all forms of oppression within society, and within XR-Switzerland. To enable greater inclusivity and diversity in our movement. To know how to address marginalized groups and build genuine and deep alliances (firstname.lastname@example.org). We plan to work with the Women’s Strike “Togetherness WG”, Critical Whiteness Bern, XR Youth UK, and XR World Decolonisation Learning Circles. What’s next? A face-to-face meeting in mid-July, with a view to creating a workshop in autumn. Join our discussions or working group on Mattermost/Base, or email us at email@example.com!
International Solidarity & Global Resilience WG
While some are rebelling to change the system that is ravaging our Earth, others must prevent irreversible damage from accumulating! Is protection a task more like you? The goal of the XR Global Resilience team is to support communities that are directly threatened by climate change and/or biodiversity loss, and those that are resisting the destruction of their environment. To increase their resilience we redirect towards them funds, tools, know-how, and if they wish, we connect them with national XR branches. Check out our projects, and join the team on globalresilience.earth.
Outreach & Integration WG
If your local group is struggling to structure itself in order to facilitate integration, you will find advice and support in the Outreach section of Base!
Full discosure: we are constantly hunting for reliable people to quickly translate or proofread texts in English, French, German and Italian! Wouldn’t we have among our readers here some people motivated by this support function? Desired profile: reactive people, able to quickly judge whether they are available for a given task, and if not, pass it on to someone else from the pool. And while we’re at it: well, we’re also looking for someone to organise the coordination of the darn pool! :) Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media & Messaging WG
We helped build the XR Global Media Library and it’s almost ready! To give you an exciting preview, here is the version that already exists for XR-UK’s photo albums. We are also looking for volunteers to help us, with experience in social media or media, and good narrative skills. If interested, drop by our welcome calls on Zoom on Monday July 13th at 7pm. Ask for link to email@example.com.
- National Media coordination
- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter content posters
- Newsletter coordination
- Translations & PR coordinator
- Partnerships and influencers coordinator (to keep track of current social media partnerships, seek out new opportunities, coordinate our social media partnerships with wider XR circles)
- Content Team
Reminder for local groups and workgroups: a blog section exists on xrebellion.ch, we are waiting for your content, get writing! We want action, we want deep thoughts, we want… to hear from you! And we’re open to feedback from the whole community: suggestions to improve our website? contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally: the public cloud is starting to fill up with resources that can be consulted by any Internet user, don’t hesitate to go and have a look!
The report of our finances for 2019 is freely available here. We have a comfortable margin for 2020 at the moment, thanks to all the people who have supported us financially! Rebels, don’t hesitate to make a request to the working group before spending money: email@example.com.
Hey! Did you like reading this newsletter? Would you like to receive it more often? So do we! It’s a critical ingredient to make the community grow, and create cohesion within the movement, but we’re lacking hands! It’s not complicated, it’s fun, and it’s useful: so, wanna help us make the next one come out before the end of the world? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for reading! The crisis and the work to do can seem daunting, and one can often feel a bit discouraged, but there are so many fantastic people here in Switzerland lovingly growing this rebellion!
We are at a critical point of human history, and the Rebellion needs all of us. You can give some of your time in so many different ways! Visit your local group, or contact the newsletter team for any question at: email@example.com.
If you cannot donate some time, but you still want to help the rebellion, you can also donate money. It will also be very welcome – but if we get the choice, we’d much prefer to see you alongside us in person instead!!!
Finally, it would be very helpful to the newsletter team if you’d take one more minute of your time to give us feedback and help us make better newsletters!