Street Outreach During the Rebellion and at Actions
When Nonviolent Civil Disobedience has been most effective, it has taken place on a foundation of connected and organised communities. Actions are our primary way to get into the public eye but our actions alone are not enough. We need to use these actions to start conversations, to tell the truth and to open our arms to all who wish to join us.
Talking to Passers By
Part of our purpose as rebels is to Tell the Truth, so engaging with the general public during a Rebellion is vital. Some might be a bit annoyed with you/Extinction Rebellion, so it may be useful to have some de-escalation training under your belt, but most are simply curious!
• Listen to them.
• Share the facts but don’t overwhelm them.
• Shift their frustrations and anger from XR to the system as a whole.
• Invite them to take a step with a small ask or an invitation (leaflets are great too!).
• Introduce yourself, be open and honest.
• It’s a conversation, after the first 2 mins listen more than you talk.
• People rarely change their stance in a single moment, you are planting seeds!
• If someone is looking for an argument just step back and “agree to disagree” – there are plenty of other people to talk to!
• For more detailed advice and some answers to the difficult questions have a look at How to Talk Climate at Rebellion and Responses to Hostile Encounters.
Some examples of open questions:
• What worries do you have about climate breakdown?
• How do you feel about the future of our food security?
• How well do you think Britain is prepared for the effects of Climate Breakdown?
• Why do you think our government has spent millions on oil and gas bailouts?
Bring the conversation to the fact that our government is negligent by not fulfilling its duty to the people. And listen to the answers, really listen.
Introduce the Demands and Citizen’s Assemblies – wouldn’t it be great to hear what people actually want? Mention France’s recent Citizen Assembly’s outcome, i.e. wanting to make Ecocide a crime under national and international law.
If conversation moves to solutions, this is a great opportunity to invite them to a Community Assembly – we are trying to start the direct democracy process off in our local area! If people have experience of what real democracy looks and feels like, the closer we come to creating popular support for our 3rd demand.
At the end of each meaningful interaction ask people to
do one thing to help (judge the right scale for the individual
you’ve just spoken to) here are some examples:
• Sign up on Extinctionrebellion.uk – Paper forms get lost, takes time to input and isn’t the most secure!
• Monthly Donation to help us.
• Bring some care packets the next day! With Food, tea or blankets!
• Come to the Community Assembly to have your voice heard.
• Check out your Local Group, here is their email address.
• Come join us on site!
On-the-Ground Signposting & Recruiting
Don’t be afraid to recruit people on site!
People will often come along to check out a Rebellion site if they are passing by, or if they are in a Local Group but haven’t taken a role and just want to help out. We don’t turn people away! Make sure they don’t move into arrestable positions without having done an NVDA training, but don’t hesitate to give them something to do. The best thing you can possibly do is be friendly and welcoming. Be someone they want to keep talking to :)
• Have they signed up on Extinctionrebellion.uk?
• Point them towards the Volunteer Website at Volunteer.Extinctionrebellion.uk or introduce them to a working group on site.
• Make sure to have a list of things people can do to help out that require minimal instruction!
- Flyers – handing out or flyposting
- Sustenance – give out tea & snacks on site
- Talking to the Public – have 10 min trainings ready so they can learn and practice!