Getting started

This page is made for new rebels and it presents all the information required to get started with Extinction Rebellion

Introduction talk

As an alternative to reading, you can also join the Welcome to XR introduction talk every Sunday. During the second hour of the two hour talk, the most important subjects covered here will also be covered there 🙂 More info can be found here: https://extinctionrebellion.nl/introductie/

Topics

There is so much to tell! To give you some overview and structure we divided the information in 8 topics. We are surely happy that you take the time to get to know our movement and are always ready to answer any questions you have at welcome@extinctionrebellion.nl.

Everyone is welcome at Extinction Rebellion. There is no obligation to sign up somewhere or any arbitration to be allowed to join. However, to make sure everyone is more or less on the same page, everyone is expected to rebel in line with our 4 demands, 10 principles and the action consensus. The latter only applies in case you’re joining actions and more about it can be found under ‘Joining Actions’

Our 4 demands

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 assembly which takes the lead on climate and ecological justice

0. Climate justice for all.
A growing number of local groups demands a just transition that centers 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 incorporate this demand movement wide. More information on www.demand0.nl  )

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 a significant part of the population to achieve system change.
  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

Extinction Rebellion takes peaceful, and often civil disobedient, action. In doing so, we target the government
and large polluters
to demand the necessary change. Although arrests are a central part of our strategy, you don’t have to get yourself arrested to join our actions. We need everyone who is willing to stand up for a livable future to join us.

Prepare to join actions: Follow an Action Training

Taking part in an action for the first time can be both exciting and a bit scary. If you are thinking of joining an action, it is essential to follow an action training, also called an NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) training. 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
  • Questions

Action trainings are irregularly organized by various (local) XR groups and most of them are published on the event page of the national website. If you are interested in joining actions, following an action training is the first step to take.

Joining actions

Our Action Consensus

When joining an action it is important to abide the action consensus, so everyone, from yourself to fellow rebels and the general public, knows what to expect. A short version of the action consensus can be found here:

  1. We show respect to everyone – to each other, the general public and to the government and police.
  2. We engage in no violence, physical or verbal.
  3. We carry no weapons (nor sharp objects).
  4. We bring no alcohol or illegal drugs.
  5. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions.

A more elaborate version can be found here.

How to join actions?

When you have followed an action training you are prepared to take part in your first action. Various groups within Extinction Rebellion organize actions, on various scales. Not all actions are communicated publicly to avoid police interference before we can even start the action.

If you not know where to start, an easy way in is to join a publicly announced action. These actions are shared in this telegram broadcast: t.me/XRNLactiebroadcast. Before an action takes place, briefings are usually organized to discuss the plan and form a groups so you are not going alone to the action.

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 to local actions.

 

As Extinction Rebellion we organize actions to demand the necessary change. To organize a successful action, a lot of things need to happen, way more than you’d expect. In addition to organizing actions, we also need people to take care of growing our movement and offer support where needed

Organize Actions

Help organize actions, for example:

  • Follow (local) politics to come up with action ideas;
  • Planning the logistics of an action;
  • Designing and making banners, posters, or flyers;
  • Writing press releases or social media posts;
  • Contacting lawyers to gather info about legal consequences
  • Taking minutes of meetings;
  • Making a briefing for all people joining an action.

Support actions in the background, for example by:

  • Taking care of social media posts;
  • Having contact with a lawyer;
  • Staying in contact with journalists;
  • Supporting arrested rebels when they are released from custody.

If you are interested in organizing an action, take a look in the action-guide for detailed information.

Support and grow the movement

Help mobilize new people and educate existing ones, for example by:

  • Giving talks (like the welcome to XR talk);
  • Training rebels (like the action training);
  • Welcoming, informing, and supporting new rebels ( “integrating “ new rebels);
  • Taking care of social media to promote XR in general.

Help create an open & healthy community, for example by:

  • Organizing social events for your group;
  • Taking care of your local rebel base;
  • Trying to help solve issues between rebels.

Other ways to support your group in general

  • Take care of digital tools used in a group;
  • Collaborate with other movements.

Some tasks are so select that they don‘t have to happen in each group but exist mainly on a national level.  Other groups can ask for help when needed. On the national circle page overview, all things that happen on a national level can be found.

If you want to get involved with any tasks in a group or roles during an action, it helps to find your group. An overview of all different groups can be found under the header  ‘Where to Join: Local, National & Communal groups ‘

Extinction Rebellion is active in the Netherlands in various ways and organized in autonomous groups. 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.
  3. National working groups, for managing tasks on an national level and supporting other groups.

You can contribute in many ways and in one or multiple groups. Many rebels, for example, are active on both a local and national level. Below we elaborate on the ways you can become active

1. Local groups

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

All local groups differ from each other. Each group is autonomous and therefore chooses their own preferred way of organisation. 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 in smaller towns, often consists of just a handful.

2. Community groups

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

3. National working groups (circles)

Despite the fact that XR is organized in a decentralized way, a number of tasks can only be done on a national level. Take for instance the tasks related to designing and managing our national website and national social media channels. These activities involve the movement as a whole and therefore require an effort on a national level. All these these tasks are covered by national working groups called circles and each circle is specialized in a specific topic. All national circles can be found here.

If you are interested in joining a local group, community group or national circle, please reach out to them! Taking initiative is really appreciated and we need all the help we can get 🙂

There are a lot of autonomous groups within Extinction Rebellion. Each group aims to limit power structures as much as possible. The main  method used to achieve this is practicing sociocracy. Sociocracy is a form of organising that assumes equality of individuals. It seeks to create 1) psychologically safe environments and 2) productive organizations.

Sociocracy differs in quite some ways on how people are used to organize themselves. Therefore, it is imported for each rebel to have a basic understanding of sociocracy. Below are five aspects of sociocracy highlighted.

Taking iniative

There is no board, no CEO or president, only equal individuals. This may take some time getting used to. Because nobody will tell you exactly what to do you have to take the initiative to contribute yourself. The advantage is that you can follow your own passion and ideas and this is encouraged by all. If you have a good idea and check it with your fellow rebels, you can basically just do it!

Making decisions

In making decisions the majority decides for all in our democracy. As this leaves interests of minorities out, not everyone is considered and not all input is used. In Extinction Rebellion we make decisions based on consent instead of majority voting.

There is consent to a proposal when no member of the group has an objection. Any group member can raise an issue. The group will discuss the issue and improve the proposal until everyone gives their consent. Working with consent avoids that everyone will focus on their own personal preference thus making it easier to make a decision.

Using hand signals

How often are meetings drowned out by just one or two individual(s) who do all the talking? Not because the rest has nothing to say, but because these individuals are the most dominant and demand attention? To give everyone room to speak and thereby profiting from the collective 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 explained in the image below.

 

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

Check-in and check-out

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

We make a round where everyone briefly tells how they are (really!) doing. Suppose you have had a bad day, rough night or had an argument with someone, then you can tell that and the rest knows why you behave like you do. On the other hand it’s also nice to share happy things happening in your life.

Dividing the tasks: Circles & Roles

To make sure all tasks are performed, it ‘s important to devide the tasks and know who is doing what. One way of doing this is by electing someone for a role (for example: secretary) with a clear description (for example: taking minutes). More about roles can be read under the header Internal Organisation – Sociocracy.

Another way of dividing tasks is by creating circles. A circle is a group that is allowed to make decisions about a certain topic. If someone wants to help make those decisions, it is possible to join a circle. By not joining a circle, a rebel permits the decisions that the circle makes on that subject. These circles might even have sub-circles to divide all tasks further.

Depending on the size of a group, the division of tasks differs: In a really small group, all tasks can be done by a few people without a clear division. In a medium-sized group, dividing rebels into clear roles becomes more important. Bigger groups usually organize in circles. For example, the national organization is completely divided into circles. You can read more about all national circles here. In local groups, it differs from the size of that group. Amsterdam (one of the largest groups) has many circles while smaller groups might have none.

Having roles and electing people

To organize ourselves 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 decide what roles they need. Most groups at least have a facilitator,  coordinator, representative and integrator. Elaborate role descriptions can be found here. Next are short descriptions of these most common roles.

Facilitator: A facilitator enables efficient and pleasant meetings by making room for everyone, making sure the agenda is followed and manages the 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.

 

While participating in our movement, you will come across various digital tools. We aim for tools that are as secure as possible and run on technology that uses renewable energy.

1. Communicating

What is a movement without communication?

Not much really. In Extinction Rebellion the three most frequenly used communication tools are SignalMattermost and Telegram. Signal is mainly used for conversations within a group, Mattermost for conversations between individuals of various groups and Telegram for broadcasting announcements.

I. Signal
Signal is an alternative for whatsapp and is used for secure communications. Common uses include sharing action plans and other information you want to keep private. For many groups within XR, Signal is the default communication app. You can download if for your iphone, for android (samsung, huawei, etc..) and for your pc.

More information about why Signal is more Secure than Whatsapp or Telegram can be found here.

II. Mattermost
Mattermost is used to communicate with all rebels from all groups within the Netherlands. 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.

III. Telegram
Telegram is used for its broadcast function to bring announcements to everyone interested. There are three telegram broadcast channels:

2. Document sharing

As you can imagine, file or document sharing is an important method of working together. Think about working together on action plans, read up on minutes or meetings, designs of posters and much more. Most of our documentation is available on our own Nextcloud file sharing environent. Everyone is free to explore our public files on Netcloud.

I.Nextcloud

You can create a Nextcloud account here. Afterwards you can view publicly accessible 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 the private group files the secluded files of the group, you have to reach out to this group and request permission.

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.

III.Cryptpad

As an alternative to Nextcloud and Google Drive, Cryptpad is the most secure and anonymous of the online collaboration tools available. 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

Because Extinction Rebellion is a decentralized movement, this is also reflected in the use of several tools. Since its start many different tools have been used and also been discarded. Some tools which are not being used so frequently anymore are still available and can be of help.

I. Wiki
Extinction Rebellion has its own wiki, which you can find here. You can think of it as wikipedia 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. Please note, because of this we are currently (december 2022) in the process of phasing out the wiki.

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!

II.Discourse

Discourse was selected to facilitate discussion within our whole movement on certain topics. Today, it is used only sparingly (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 provided by Extinction Rebellion in the Netherlands. This mainly due to a variety and ever changing needs. Trainings and workshops come and go. Nevertheless, below is an incomplete overview of all trainings and workshops. When trainings or workshops are planned, they often can be found on the event page.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sociocracy workshop

Extinction Rebellion incorporates 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 mattermost channel.

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.

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 is scheduled, it will be shared on the Mattermost integration channel. As an alternative, you can read through all the resources on the integration page.

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.

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.

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.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an global movement that fights the climate and ecological crisis and their horrible consequences. Rapid climate change and the loss of biodiversity are causing the collapse of ecosystems, the extinction of species, and the death and endangerment of life on a global scale. Many at no or negligible fault for these crises are suffering the worst of its consequences already today.

Extinction Rebellion exists because our governments refuse to introduce the necessary policies to keep us safe. We, a group of ordinary people, take creative, peaceful and disruptive action, to compel our government to take necessary measures.

You can read more on the background of the climate crisis  here. A 15 minute video about the climate crisis and the need for civil disobedience can be found here.

History

In May 2018, Extinction Rebellion was founded in the UK. The Dutch chapter, XR Netherlands, was founded a few months later, in December 2018. Since then many actions have been organized. An overview of actions organized can be found here.

Now more than 30 Local XR groups make up the backbone of the movement. With ready support from rebels acting nationwide, they organize actions on various scales to stimulate changes in politics, business and society as a whole.