Getting started!

This page is made for new rebels to have all information you need to get started within Extinction Rebellion on one page.

Introduction talk

If you don ‘t like reading so much, you can also join the Welcome to XR introduction talk every Sunday. Especially the second hour of this talk covers most important things of this page too 🙂 More info here: https://extinctionrebellion.nl/introductie/

 

 

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international activist movement that fights against climate change , the loss of biodiversity and the effect it has on all beings, including humans.  Climate change and biodiversity loss are leading to the collapse of ecosystems, the extinction of a lot of species, and the deaths and endangerment of many people, mainly in the global south.

XR exists because our government is refusing to introduce the necessary policies to keep its citizens safe and we, a diverse group of ordinary people, take creative, peaceful and sometimes disruptive action, to compel our government to take necessary measures.

History

In May 2018, Extinction Rebellion was founded in the UK. The Dutch version of it, XR Netherlands, was founded a few months later, in December 2018. Since October 2019, XR Netherlands organized a week of actions every six months, called a rebellion.

The number of local XR groups is also constantly growing, which participate in national campaigns and also campaign locally and regionally to stimulate change in politics, business and society as a whole. In the Netherlands there are more than 30 local groups active.

Everyone can join Extinction Rebellion. You don ‘t have to sign up somewhere or be allowed to join. However, to make sure everyone is more or less on the same page, you should check if you are agreeing with our 4 demands, 10 principles, and the action consensus in case your joining actions too.

Our 4 demands

0. CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR ALL. We demand a just transition that centres the needs and voices of those on the environmental frontline and holds to account those most responsible for ecological breakdown. (Extinction Rebellion is in the process of deciding on whether we should add this demand. Various local groups have already integrated this demand, but not all. More information on www.demand0.nl  )

1. TELL THE TRUTH about the climate and ecological crisis that threatens our existence and communicate the urgency for change

2. ACT NOW to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 in a just and fair manner

3. LET CITIZENS DECIDE by establishing a Citizen ‘s assemblywhich takes the lead on climate and ecological justice

Our 10 principles

  1. WE HAVE A SHARED VISION OF CHANGE
    a world that is fit for generations to come.
  2. WE SET OUR MISSION ON WHAT IS NECESSARY
    Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – using ideas such as “Momentum-driven organising” to achieve this.
  3. WE NEED A REGENERATIVE CULTURE
    Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.
  4. WE OPENLY CHALLENGE OURSELVES AND THIS TOXIC SYSTEM
    Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.
  5. WE VALUE REFLECTING AND LEARNING
    Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.
  6. WE WELCOME EVERYONE AND EVERY PART OF EVERYONE
    Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.
  7. WE ACTIVELY MITIGATE FOR POWER
    Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.
  8. WE AVOID BLAMING AND SHAMING
    We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.
  9. WE ARE A NON-VIOLENT NETWORK
    Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change.
  10. WE ARE BASED ON AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALISATION
    We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

Our Action Consensus

When joining an action in is important to abide the action consensus, so everyone, from yourself to fellow rebels and the general public, knows what to expect. You can check out the action consensus here. A more elaborate version can be found here.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is active in the Netherlands in various ways. According to the tenth principle – We base ourselves on autonomy and decentralization – we try to organize ourselves as decentralized as possible. There are three types of groups where you can join:

  1. Local groups, for example XR Deventer;
  2. Community groups, for example XR healthcare professionals; and
  3. National organization, for coordination where necessary and national actions

You can contribute in any of these ways. You can also contribute in several ways at the same time, for example by being active at both a local and national level. Below we eleborate on all the ways you can become active.

1. Local groups

At the time of writing, there are just above 30 local groups. These are spread all over the country. All local groups can be found here. For each local group, you can find information on that page, such as the email and a short description.

All local groups differ from each other. Each group is autonomous and therefore chooses how it is organized exactly. Next to preferences, the size of each group differs too. Especially the groups in the larger cities such as Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are quite large and consist of dozens of rebels. The smaller local groups, mainly from the smaller towns, sometimes consist of only a few to about ten rebels.

2. Community groups

A community group is a group of rebels with the same interests or identity, like XR NL Families,  for rebels with young children. All other community groups are: XR Scientists, XR Healthcare Professionals, XR NL Fashion Action, XR Agriculture, XR NL Youth, University Rebellion NL and XR Nieuwsmedia. More information and contact details for all community groups can be found here.

3. National organization

Despite the fact that XR is organized in a decentralized way, a number of things also need to be done nationally. For example, there is a national website and national social media. All matters that are arranged nationally are divided across circles, smaller independent groups with a specific subject. All circles that are currently available at national level, including explanations, can be found on the structure page.

If you are interested in a local group, community group or national working circle, please reach out to them! Taking initiative is really appreciated 🙂

There are a lot of autonomous groups within Extinction Rebellion. Within each group we try  to limit power structures as much as possible. The main we how we try to achieve this is by practicing sociocracy.  Sociocracy is a form of government that assumes equality of individuals. It seeks to create 1) psychologically safe environments and 2) productive organizations.

As sociocracy differs in quite some ways on how people are used to organize themselves in for example companies, it is imported for each rebel to have a basic understanding of sociocracy. Below are highlighted five aspects of sociocracy: a) Taking iniative, b) Making decisions, c) Hand signals, d) Check-in & check-outs and e) Electing roles

1. Taking iniative

There is no board, no CEO or president and that can take some time getting used to. Because nobody can and will tell you exactly what to do, you have to think for yourself  about how you can contribute and get involved. The advantage is that you can follow your own passion and ideas. If you have a good idea and check it with a few people, you can basically just do it!

2. Making decisions

In making decisions the majority can decide for everyone in our democracy. As this leaves concerns of minorities out, not everyone is considered and not all input is used. Within XR we make decisions based on consent, instead of majority voting.

There is consent to a proposal when no member of the circle has an objection. Any group member can raise an issue. The group will discuss the issue and improve the proposal untill everyone gives their consent. As the picture below shows well, working with consents avoids that everyone will focus on their own personal preference.

3. Using hand signals

How often are meetings drowned out by just one or two individuals who speak? Not because the rest have nothing to say, but because these individuals talk the loudest and demand attention? In order to make room for everyone as a person as well as everyone’s knowledge and experience, we use hand signals.

Want to say something? Then raise your finger. The facilitator will then give you the turn. Has someone already raised their finger? Then raise two fingers, and you are second in line. There are also some other hand signals, for example, to indicate that you want to respond immediately or make a technical point (in video calling: I can’t hear you!). There are a few more. Some of the most commonly used hand signals are in the image below.

 

Using hand signals can feel a little uncomfortable or childish at first. This makes sense, because we are not used to it. However, almost everyone gets used to them fairly quickly.

4. Check-in and check-out

From the regenerative culture (principle 3), we begin and end almost every meeting with a moment focussing on the people present, rather than the items on the agenda. These are called a check-in (beginning of meeting) and check-out (end of meeting).

We make a round where everyone briefly tells you how that person is (really!) doing. Suppose you have had a bad day/bad sleep/for argument with someone, then you can tell that and the rest knows why you are mentally a bit less present for example. On the other hand, of course, it’s also nice to share with the people you’re meeting with what fun things happened in your life. Having roles

5. Having roles and electing people

To organize ourselfs efficiently a lot of groups have roles. A role is a task with a clear description, also called a mandate. To avoid power accumulation, people are elected for these roles in a sociocratic election for a maximum amount of time (usually 3-6 months).

Each independent group such as a circle or local group can choose what roles they have. Most groups at least have a facilitator,  coordinator, representative and integrator. Elaborate role descriptions can be found here, below are given short descriptions.

Facilitator: A facilitator enables efficient and pleasent meetings by making room for everyone, making sure the agenda is followed and structures decision making processes.

Coordinator: The coordinator makes sure the group functions well by keeping track of the goals, suggesting things to discuss and proposing an agenda for every meeting.

Representative: The representative represents the group when decisions have to made with other groups and brings back input from other groups.

Integrator: The integrator welcomes, informs and supports new rebels.

How the sociocratic election process works, can be found here.

 

In short:

  • Before you join any action, make sure you follow an action training. Look for them on the event page.
  • Keep updated of big national actions by joining the telegram action channel: t.me/XRNLactiebroadcast.
  • Want to know what it takes to organize an action? Take a look at the action-guide.

1. Preparing to join actions

If you want to join an action it is important to follow an action training, also called an NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) training. They are irregularly organized by various (local) XR groups and most of them are published on the event page of the national website. In such a training various aspects  are discussed, including:

  • What is considered non-violence
  • How to manage the risks of getting arrested
  • What it practically means to get arrested
  • What are the legal consequences of getting arrested
  • The Action Consensus

Also there is always room to ask your questions

2. Joining actions

Various groups organize actions, some bigger than others. Not all actions are communicated publicly to avoid the police preventing us from starting the action. If you are interested in joining actions, you can join the telegram broadcast using this link: t.me/XRNLactiebroadcast.

For joining actions that are not publicly shared, you should make sure that organizers have your contact details and trust you. You can for example contact local groups in your neighbourhood., and ask to be invited for local actions.

3. Organizing actions

Actions also have to be organized. Everyone can do so. Organizing an action for the first time can be a bit overwhelming as it can require thinking of strategy, contacting lawyers, filling roles, setting up arrestee support, making/collecting all action materials, making a press release and inviting journalist to join.

Two  tips:

  1. Organize your first action with one or more experienced rebels
  2. Use the (a bit outdated) action-guide to guide you in the process of organizing actions

Depending on how you want to be active within our movement, you will come across various digital tools, for example for communicating and document sharing. We try to use tools that are as privacy friendly as possible, and use renewable energy. Because of this, we sometimes use unusual tools, such as our own Cloud service, instead of Google Drive.

1. Communicating

For sharing information about meetings, interesting articles, getting emotional support, etc.

In short: make sure you 1) install signal and 2) join the general telegram broadcast channel.

1.I.Signal

Signal is an alternative for whatsapp and is used for secure communications, for example sharing action plans or other information you want to keep private. For many groups within XR, Signal is the default communication app, so make sure you download it. Download it on iphone, on android (samsung, huawei, etc..) and on desktop.

Here you can read more about why Signal is more secure than Whatsapp or Telegram.

1.II.Telegram

Telegram is used for its broadcast function, basically a irregular newsletter. There are three telegram broadcast channels:

1.III.Mattermost

To communicate between all groups active in Netherlands, we use Mattermost. You can create an account for Mattermost here. Because so many people communicate through Mattermost, the platform can quickly feel a bit overwhelming. To help you get started, there is a short video explaining how Mattermost works.

2. Document sharing

For sharing files as action plans, minutes of meeting designs of posters and more. Feel free to explore our public files on nextcloud, but there is no real need until you join a group and become active.

2.I.Nextcloud

A lot of groups – especially national groups – use NextCloud for sharing files as action plans, minutes of meeting and designs of posters, for example. Create an account here. Afterwards you can view publically accesible files here. This means you can see files, but not edit them yet. If you also want to edit files of a certain group, or view also the secluded files of the group, you have to reach out to this group.

2.II.Google drive

A more known alternative for nextcloud is Google Drive. Some groups use it. If you have a google account (e.g. you have an email ending on @gmail.com) you can access files when a group adds you to their file folders.

2.III.Cryptpad

Cryptpad is the most secure and anonymous of the online file systems used. Because of this, it is mainly used for the planning of (secret) actions, as it lowers the chances that the plans leak out. You can make an account here.

3. Less used tools

3.I. Wiki

Extinction Rebellion has its own wiki, which you can find here. You can think of it as wikipedia only about Extinction Rebellion. It is especially usefull to find contact details of different groups within the movement. Because not all groups update their contact details all the time, it isn ‘t used frequently.

The wiki is especially useful to get in touch with a (local) group. For example, this page shows an overview of all local XR groups. Click on a local group, and you will see an overview of relevant information feed this group, such as: the email of the group and the Mattermost names of relevant people in this group.

Wiki integrates greatly with mattermost: if you click on the names with an @ in front of them, you will be taken directly to Mattermost, and from there you can send a message to this person. So this way you can approach all groups within XR to get involved! Every one is always happy to welcome you, so don’t be afraid to send someone a message!

3.II.Discourse

Discourse was created the facilitate discussion within our whole movement on certain topics. It is used only a little (no activity in first six months of 2022). If you want to look around or start a discussion, you can make an account here.

There is no complete overview of all workshops and trainings that are giving within XR the Netherlands. However, this is an incomplete list with information. Many workshops can be found on the events page.

1. Heading for Extinction talk

The Heading for Extinction talk is used throughout the global movement and is meant to motivate people to join our movement. It can (and often should) be changed depending on the audience. Scientists are more likely to be motivated by the statistics and facts, whereas parents might be touched more by an emotional approach.

2. Introduction Talk

The introduction consists of the Heading for Extinction talk plus a simple explanation on how the movement works and how rebels can contribute. It is definitely helpful for new rebels to join an online Introduction in the beginning of their integration process. There is more information about the Introduction on the website.

3. Action training

To properly prepare rebels for actions, there is an action training or Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) training where rebels learn how to prepare, what to expect and much more. It is quite important for new rebels to join an Action training before going to an action, especially if they are taking on a high-risk role.

There is also an NVDA 2.0 training also known as an Advanced action training, which allows rebels to practice with more complicated structures such as lock-ons and prepares them for the highest risk actions.

4. Well-being training

Regenerative culture is one of the principles and values of our movement. The more rebels know how to acknowledge their own feelings, support others and draw healthy boundaries, the stronger and more resilient our movement will become. Therefore, well-being trainings are helpful and encouraged for everyone. Especially for integrators, as integration requires paying attention to the well-being of new rebels.

5. Demand 0 workshop

Aside from the three demands known throughout XR (Tell The Truth, Act Now and Go Beyond Politics) there is also call for an additional demand: Climate Justice. The Demand 0 workshop is meant to discuss if and how this demand can be adopted and implemented throughout the movement. It is a very eye-opening workshop, recommended for both integrators and new rebels. However, the workshop does go over some harsh truths about inequalities and injustices, so it can be a bit upsetting. Consider warning rebels of this.

6. Sociocracy workshop

Extinction Rebellion works with sociocracy, a method of organization, communication and decision-making based on consent, decentralization and non-hierarchical coordination. It influences every part of our movement and is therefore important to understand for everyone.

Sociocracy workshops and Q&A hours are given regularly by the SOS circle and easily found in their channel.

7. Legal training

The Action training already covers a bit about the basics of protest laws relevant for rebels. The legal training goes deeper into these subjects, making it a very useful training for rebels with an interest in high-risk actions and especially for those who may want to help out as a police liaison at actions. This training isn’t necessarily important for integrators, although it is useful as new rebels tend to have questions about the subject.

8. Integrator training

The “Welcoming New Rebels” workshop, also known as the integrator training, is useful for anyone as each rebel has the ability to influence a new rebel’s experience. The workshop is constantly evolving, so it is advised for integrators to follow it every once in a while to learn the newest ideas on integration. Whenever this workshop will be given again, it will always be shared in the Integration channel.

9. DNA training

The three-hour DNA training is still in development and is meant to teach rebels all they need to know to participate internally within the movement. It is also known as the organizer training and can be very useful to rebels who want to be regularly active behind the screens.

10. Action organization training

Also known as “How to organize an action like it’s your birthday”, this training teaches rebels how to organize an action, who to contact and more. This training is still in the early stages of development and is mostly aimed at Affinity Groups and rebels who want to help organize actions.

12. Non-violent communication training

Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent social movement, making it quite important to be able to communicate in a respectful, positive, non-violent way. The non-violent communication training teaches how to handle emotions coming up, ground yourself, connect through empathetic listening and much more. It is a very useful training for anyone in XR, especially integrators and all those interested in helping out in regen roles.