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Escalation Plan. Being Heard.

Community Assemblies are part of a bigger plan for Extinction Rebellion. Community Assemblies could be a strategy through which we escalate (particularly our 3rd Demand) from local assemblies, all the way up to Westminster.

Remember, that this is horses for courses. Your local organisers may wish to hold an assembly on a topic important to them, which may or may not have the aim of making recommendations to your local or regional authority. Your group will want to decide in advance which outcomes your want to achieve when deciding your topic for deliberation.

The escalation plan begins with organising local Community Assemblies which are aimed at applying pressure on local / regional politicians.

Now Is A Good Time

In the lead up to a General Election, we all have greater influence on politicians than at any other time. In particular, where politicians are in deadlock over issues around our climate and ecological emergency, we can open up conversations around community assemblies and a Citizen's Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice.

If your local authorities are obstructive, as described above, then alongside allies with whom you share values, now is the perfect time to organise Community Assemblies and think about how you can best get them on board!

Top Tips on How To Engage Councillors and Politicians in Your Local or Unitary Authority

  1. Be aware that Council elections usually have low turnout. This helps you, as local politicians are sensitive to changes in opinion, particularly of influential groups. Identifying such groups and finding common ground with them will help strengthen your campaign and reach more people.

  2. Local politicians are likely to be quite scared of dealing with XR, so start gently. To begin, contact them by email, attend a surgery, or phone them. Invite them to attend your local assembly; ask for their support for a campaign. Think about whatever could work locally.

  3. Try to make an appointment to meet with the relevant Chair of Committee or ortfolio Holder responsible for the issue you’re raising, to discuss an assembly or a particular campaign. Offer your local XR group's support for a policy; it will be appreciated and helps to build trust.

  4. In advance of your assembly, give the impression of having lots of local support for the issue you're raising (which of course may be the case, such as water pollution). Build your credibility by raising a petition; focus this on local people, they probably won't be interested in the views of others! Alternatively, set up a gathering, run a survey, use social media, take photographs, etc. Contact Councillors to alert them to what you're doing and talk about support gained.

  5. Follow up what you do by submitting Questions to Full Council, which will make the Council’s response public, may be reported in the media, and with prior permission you can film the response and use in social media, to grow interest.

Tipping Point of Community Power!

Extinction Rebellion's strategic aim is to achieve a tipping point of local support that pushes the conversation about a Citizen's Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice. Ultimately, we want to reach Westminster ears. This can only come from the grassroots, i.e. us, the people.

We know our political systems are broken. Imagine a proven and more inclusive method of decision making that ensures the interests of people and nature are taken into careful consideration, in all decisions. Imagine decision making where no one is left behind and we transition together, collaboratively to a healthier, fairer society. Mobilising and empowering local people at the grassroots is the starting point...

XR's vision is that over coming months, dozens of government and authority buildings could be occupied all over the country, with the simple demand to follow the recommendations of their local community assembly on important issues.

Of course, your local or regional authority might already be in agreement to implement recommendations from local assemblies... It's already starting to happen. (See Case Studies).

What If Your Decision Making Authorities Are Not Listening?

If your local authority doesn't want to take your assembly recommendations on board, or engage with improving community participation in deliberative democracy, that is the time to consider escalation.

So for instance, if your local authority will not support your community in the following ways, you may consider occupying uncollaborative local or unitary authorities. XR Local Groups have had great success with getting support from allies in some of the following situations where authorities are not collaborating or engaging:

Not Sure Where to Start? If you are not sure about where the decision making powers lie where you are, have a look at the Combined Authorities map to find out.

If you have any questions on any of the choices of direction you face, or just need to bounce ideas around, please contact your regional/national Gardener, who supports local groups, email, or pop into the 'Ask Anything' Assemblies drop in held every Friday at 3pm. Copy this Zoom link and drop into your browser: Meeting ID : 821 9800 8751
Passcode: 203667