Rebellion is a powerful and beautiful time. We’ve shown the world our desire for change and we’ve brought new energy into our movement. Our new recruits need welcoming, yet we also need to rest. This handbook is designed to help us do both. We can look after ourselves and each other, and also ensure that our new rebels are helped to find their way. The handbook is divided into three sections: Looking Back, Right Now, and Looking Forward. Each section represents a necessary post rebellion time to work through. Take as much time as you need for each of these stages, both individually and as a group. There is no need to move on until you feel ready."
- Looking Back
- Right Now
- Looking Forward
Over the past weeks we have shouted, we have sung, we have cried and we have made our voices heard. We are tired and we are full of energy, we are overjoyed and we are heartbroken, we are rebels and we are going home. Looking Back has been created to guide organisers through this time of mess and contradictions, to hold space for emotions and learnings and to manage the logistics of clear up. Here you will find guidance and resources to carry your group home.
As the movement grows, it is important that we learn from our achievements and our mistakes.
A debrief after an action gives us the opportunity to recognise our skills and weaknesses and to develop ourselves both as individuals and part of a team within the movement and our environment.
Although we are taking action for positive reasons, and often come away from these actions full of excitement, joy and energy, rebellion can be an emotionally heightened and stressful time. It is likely that many people will have been running on adrenaline throughout the action. During moments of stress, our unconscious memory is more active. Debriefing can help process these memories and experiences.
After periods of heightened adrenaline, people may also experience a physical or emotional dip, which may leave them feeling unable to communicate, exhausted or experiencing negative thoughts. This is a completely normal bodily response but can feel destabilising and unpleasant in the moment. Debrief can offer a space to share and to get support in dealing with these feelings.
Passing Feedback to the Movement
The Feedback and Learning Culture Working Group have designed a debrief survey so that a rebel from each XR group can feedback to the wider movement on what worked well, what didn’t, and what to do differently in future. This survey will be analysed and fed into future rebellion planning and strategy design, both regionally and nationally. It is extremely valuable for the movement as a whole to learn from our many mistakes and achievements.
Roles needed in debrief:
The facilitator doesn’t need to be a professional and shouldn’t be expected to magically fix anyone’s hurts. Rather, they should focus on moving the group through the different parts of the session, while taking part in the session themselves.
Note-taking during the debrief can further help the group to look back and see how much there is to celebrate or understand what can be learned for next time. The learnings gathered from the debrief may also be useful to share as part of the strategy processes or pass to the Feedback and Learning Culture team. Instructions on how and where to share this feedback will be included in this Handbook post Rebellion. Watch this space!
To debrief without a facilitator:
Find a safe space in a calm, easily accessible environment. It is also fine to meet online. Ideally sit in a circle, so that everyone can see the group. Ground yourselves by spending a few minutes sitting in mindfulness and silence. Share how you’re feeling by taking turns to speak and actively listen. It is a good idea to use a talking stick to ensure that no one speaks over each other.
Here are some resources to help you plan and structure debrief sessions. There are two main forms of debrief: our standard one and an emotional one. It is up to you which one fits best for your group and you may even want to do both.
- Simple Debrief - outline for 90 min session with 10 people & 2 facilitators
- Simple Emotional Debrief - outline for 90 min session with 4-8 people & 1 facilitator
- Emotional Debrief - for large groups modification for groups of more than 10 people
Relationships and Solidarity
During rebellion, we may step on toes, upset or offend during our actions. After rebellion, there is a need for consolatory work, for us to come together with our communities and find common ground. We cannot achieve our vision alone. We must come together in solidarity with other movements, organisations and communities. Our strength grows from our relationships, working together towards the co-liberation of us all.
Empathy is important when approaching someone you may have hurt, imagining the situation from their perspective. They may have different concerns and priorities but that doesn’t make their experience any less valid.
Humility is key in understanding that you may have done harm without meaning to, and that your good intentions don't reduce the harm you did.
XR Principles and Values need to be embodied when holding a relationship on behalf of XR. We avoid blaming and shaming, and rather than shifting blame to another we acknowledge that we or people we stand alongside make mistakes.
Non Violent Communication has been described as a language of compassion and a tool for positive social change and is important for any peacemaking conversation. The goal of non violent communication is to make a human connection that will result in everyone feeling their needs have been met.
Active Listening can be an incredibly powerful tool that enables you to genuinely connect with members of your local community. It can enable us to learn from others, to better understand different perspectives and can forge strong links with others in our communities.
Solidarity is an ongoing collaborative process of relationship and community building, coming together with humility and a willingness to change.
Non Violent Communication Guide
Active Listening Guide
Solidarity Practical Guidelines
Rebellion is always messy, with people leaving their belongings in “safe” places only to find they have been moved by the time they return. Police often confiscate property large and small and once we leave the streets our logistics teams are left with piles of unclaimed belongings to sort through.
So here are some things to consider to help reunite your rebels with their property.
Reclaiming Confiscated Items
We cannot predict police tactics for this Rebellion, but in October they were very focused on confiscating property.
- If the police confiscate equipment or belongings they will likely be kept at a police station or in one of their warehouses.
- To track down property talk to either your solicitor after arrest or to the Police Liaison team as they will likely be able to narrow the search. You can reach the Police Liaison team on email@example.com
- When picking up confiscated items for yourself or others it is helpful to have a photo or clear description of what you are looking for as the Police warehouses are rarely organised.
The Big Sort
The only guarantee after the Rebellion is that we will have a bit of a mess! A good sort will always be necessary, so make sure to share the load and not leave one human to do it all. This is often a good hands on task for new rebels to take part in if they want to help out.
- Find a space to bring everything that needs sorted. Or split it up between people’s homes for them to sort.
- Working out what shared items you have is a good start. Banners, first aid kits and placards can all be stored together.
- Personal belongings are more challenging. Make sure you have a clear system, photograph items, check for labels, share a spreadsheet of photos with your rebels. Make sure there is a clear way to contact the team holding the items.
- Some things will never be claimed no matter how hard you try. Come together as a group and work out what you want to do with them. Blankets can be used for wellbeing, and art materials and burner phones are always useful. Clothes and some other items can be donated.
At the end of rebellion, we are welcoming our rebels home with care and support for each other and ourselves. We are reflecting, telling stories and taking the time to adjust to our needs as individuals, a group and a movement. We are also welcoming new rebels bringing their own energy and excitement. Right Now has been created to support the regenerative cycle of rebels returning from rebellion and provide resources for new rebels to allow you to rest.
Looking After Your Rebels
As events of an action or series of actions settle, we normally make time to come together for celebration, sharing appreciation for what we did, what we saw each other do, and what we’d like to honour. In post-rebellion regenerative care, our purpose is to ask ourselves: ‘What happened?’ ‘What am I learning?’ ‘What is that teaching me?’ We explore how this helps us and others.
On an organisational level, this helps us learn as much as we can from our actions so that we can do better next time. It is a space for us to collectively reflect on our expectations and whether they were met or not.
On an individual level we need to allow ourselves and others to move through emotions of rage, grief, trauma, sadness and anger that have arisen so that we do not carry them and so they do not solidify and lodge as discomfort in our bodies.
People who engage with the climate crisis need to recognise that they are susceptible to a certain kind of stress due to the overwhelming nature of the problem. Looking after our own needs, personal care and recovery is vital to build the resilience we need.
If you are looking to take time away from the city or your environment check out our Open Home scheme. If you are feeling vulnerable and need support, look into our Trained Emotional Support Network (TESN).
If you are experiencing grief in the forms of anger, numbness or sadness, look into our grief tenders. You can also find videos on our YouTube to help guide you through meditations, breakwork and other techniques to help ground you.
It is important to welcome emotions into your group. Reaching out to people in your communities and focusing energy on connecting with them is difficult work and requires ongoing attention, so it is important to create space and time for the group to share how each rebel is feeling.
Celebrations offer moments of deep appreciation and genuine excitement. They help us arrive back home to ourselves, and land safely back in the arms of our families and communities. When we gather together in celebration, we acknowledge the contribution made by each of us and this act of reflecting together helps us understand the gifts we bring to our community.
There is an emphasis on sharing: we tell stories, we eat together, we nourish each other. We strengthen our connection and in this coming together we foster resilience in ourselves and our communities.
After the excitement of an action, rebels come home and must slowly adapt to normal life and the responsibilities that that entails. A celebration provides a bridge between these points and the affirmations that take place within it provide the strength needed in order to regenerate.
Active Resilience Guide
Self Care and Avoiding Burnout
Trained Emotional Support Network
XR Open Homes Scheme
Regenerative Cultures YouTube
Simple Emotional Debrief
Deepening Your Check In
Active Listening Guide
Active Listening Guide
Building Empathy Circles
Talking Circle Guidelines
Grief and gratitude are linked - we grieve that which we are grateful for or love. As well as people that we love, there are many other losses in our life: children moving away, loss of a job or home, nature, habitat or species loss.
Grief shows up in different ways as sadness, anger or sometimes numbness. So grief is soul work, which requires us to face the losses that we have as part of life, when we allow ourselves to face our grief instead of turning away it deepens our connection. It can take us into territory where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and exposes the truth of our need for others in times of need and suffering.
Grieving together is a way of witnessing our connection and interdependence, so being in community, part of a village where what we feel matters and is heard.
For more information on Grief Tending contact XRGrief@protonmail.com
Legal and Arrestee Support
We have a collective and personal responsibility to support our arrestees. In doing so we are both extending care and compassion to each other, and sustaining our movement. Post Arrest Liaisons (PALs) can provide signposting to the Arrestee Support resources and also offers a sympathetic ear through telephone contact. Let all rebels know that they can request a PAL by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘PAL Request’ in the subject heading.
Court Supporters attend any hearing and/or court appointment wit arrestees to provide moral support to arrestees/defendants on the day of a plea hearing and/or trial.
If you or someone in your team are interested in being trained for either of these roles, email email@example.com. For legal-related questions email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also go to informeddissent.info for collectively sourced materials to support you from XR and others who have been arrested.
Arrestee Support Resources
Legal and Arrestee Support Training Timetable
Welcoming New Rebels
When welcoming new rebels there are several key things that help do:
• Plan – Have a plan for some welcoming events to
direct new rebels to and nominate welcomers.
• Say hello – Be welcoming, friendly and honest.
• Meet them – We thrive on connection. Set up events, socials, welcome spaces and talks after the rebellion. Give new rebels a space to land!
• Get them connected – Direct new rebels to Mattermost, Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram whatever platform you use!
Getting in touch
Finding your new rebels information
New rebels and those interested will have been encouraged to sign up with us on the website throughout the rebellion. These names should be pushed into your space on Action Network (AN) and so the graph on your AN dashboard should be slowly increasing over time - if this is not the case please contact either your regional tech team or email@example.com.
Those of you who have used Rebel Ringing before will know how helpful that friendly call is for welcoming people into the movement. It’s a way of reaching out to Rebels in your local area, many of whom will have signed up onto XR’s database during the Rebellion.
Set up an automatic email
All groups with an email address should set up an automated email response with an upbeat welcome message to explain how rebels can get involved. Include links to your exciting welcoming events, or explain there may be limited contact post-rebellion and signposting new rebels to centrally provided online formats. Your new rebels may be fired up and want to start doing things so give them a few simple tasks they can do right now without personal contact.
Social media automatic reply
Suggested Welcome Email
Rebel Ringing Guidelines
Meet your New Rebels
There’s no better way of introducing rebels to XR than telling them what they’re signing up to. Running an introduction to XR isn’t complicated but it should be well thought through, especially how to strike a balance between making the session participatory while getting the most crucial information across and what information rebels should have about your XR group versus what will just result in information overwhelm.
The Heading for Extinction talk
Due to lockdown, a new HfE Zoom version has been created. It is a bit shorter but it’s impact will be just as big and it is the perfect tool for explaining XR’s rationale to potential recruits and getting them emotionally involved. If you don’t have a speaker in your own local group you can organise a talk event together with other local groups in your region. You can request a Heading for Extinction speaker from your regional Talks & Trainings coordinator. See the Contact Page of the XR UK website.
Buddies support systems
XR can be a confusing place – there is a lot to learn! It takes around a month for most people to find their feet. One way to help new rebels feel welcomed and supported is to form buddy groups. The aim of a buddy system is for rebels to feel heard, respected and valued, to have their initial questions answered and any worries or barriers to joining listened to and addressed.
Meetings are a good option for groups with minimal spare capacity. If all else fails, keep your regular meetings going so interested new recruits can drop in. If a new rebel comes to these spaces make sure they are welcomed and ask what they might be interested in so they can listen in to those conversations. Ensure you have a few people aware of new rebels during social moments such as tea breaks, and initiate conversations, asking about their experiences and interests. At the end of a meeting ask new rebels what they thought, stay behind to chat, invite them to something else, add them to group chats, or offer to connect them to a Working Group.
Getting New Rebels Involved
We have had plenty of feedback from local rebels saying that whenever they could get together far away from any zooms and screens in a park or big garden, it gave an energy boost to their group. Going to a sociable offline event to hear more about XR is much more appealing than being asked to join the 10th zoom call of the day.
Make your facebook event more accessible by asking Extinction Rebellion UK (@XRebellionUK) to be a co-host. That way the event will show up on our UK events page and the extinctionrebellion.uk website.
Tip: Use breakout rooms for audience engagement. Don’t include more than 4 people in one room.
Welcome to XR - every Tues 7-9pm - register either using the Talks & Training Facebook Events or the XRUK website Events page
- How to Run a Welcome to XR Session for Local Groups - slide show | And support video | Passcode: bZ^X94*e
Online UK Resources
The optimal scenario in welcoming new rebels is to get them involved in your thriving, local XR community. However, after big rebellions and actions many groups are exhausted or involved in debrief and looking back at the past weeks’ experiences.
You can signpost new rebels to sign-up to interactive online trainings at the Rebellion Academy. This can help orientate rebels into XR. Encourage them to:
- Take the ‘What type of rebel you are’ quiz to get a better idea of how they could fit within the movement.
- Take part in the introductory trainings to find out more about XR
- Discover all trainings and resources available to help rebels prepare for their ideal role in the movement.
For this purpose, the UK-wide working groups have provided various online resources. Check the website Events page for workshops and training that new rebels will find useful such as the Heading for Extinction talks, the Hub and Mattermost Support and Training, Welcome to XR, Nonviolent Direct Action workshops, DNA workshops and Citizens' Assembly talks.
Get a role: Volunteer website
If you don’t have any events that you can invite new and interested recruits to, make sure to signpost them to the Volunteer Website if they'd like to volunteer for a role or task until your XR group has time to regenerate.
If new rebels express an interest in organising Regionally or Nationally or with XRUK, direct them to the Volunteer Website where they can peruse and apply for specific roles.
Get involved: National Campaigns
At the end of this handbook you will find simple handouts for active campaigns that new rebels can get involved in, which include simple tasks so that they can take action right away. We will also host these separately on the website so you can send links directly to rebels!
Trust the People
Citizens' Assembly Advocates
When rebels and groups begin to once again grow their energy after rebellion, the next steps are to solidify relationships and return to visioning. Energetic rebels can get involved in campaigns and the group can take their next steps on their path of growth and connection. Looking Forward has been created to support the next steps a rebel and a group can take to build and support the movement.
Connections & Forging new Relationships
The strength of any community depends on good relationships built on trust, cooperation, caring and resilience.
Extinction Rebellion recognises that discrimination and lack of awareness operate systemically to divide us, whether that discimination is based on gender, ethnicity, religion, class, ability, sexual orientation or other characteristics.
Extinction Rebellion is committed to addressing the links between ecological and climate collapse, and social and economic injustices. We recognise that it is marginalised communities who are consistently on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction, climate change, and ecological crises.
When Extinction Rebellion speaks of collapse and catastrophe we acknowledge that this is already a daily reality for many people, particularly in the Global South where the majority of the world live. We name this for what it is - an emergency. We keep this reality in mind and heart in designing our movement and our political and action strategies.
We move towards a fairer and more regenerative future by enriching others and being enriched by them. We have much to learn (and unlearn) from alliances with other communities who have long been working on anti-oppression, environmental, ecological and other social justice issues internationally. Only good things can come from our joining others with respect and humility, learning from each other, and working collaboratively to build the regenerative future of our dreams.
- Guidelines for mapping community and relationship with others
- Supporting connection and relationships with other movements
- Solidarity guidelines
- Global XR mutual support twinning program
Hopes & Dreams
XR principle and value number one declares that we have a shared vision for change.
This asks all rebels and activators to reach for their wildest dreams for the impossible? restoration and repair of our relationships, our humanity and Earth's abundance.
Let’s ask ourselves: What will it take for humanity to become a regenerative presence in the community of life on Earth?
- What does it look like to be your most authentic, bold and loving self?
- What is your truest most beautiful imagining of the future?
- What do you need for the flourishing of what you love?
Imagine your vision, intend for your vision, hold faith in your vision, love your vision and then act in the becoming of your vision.
“Because of the interconnectedness of all minds, affirming a positive vision may be about the most sophisticated action any of us can take.” Willis Harman
Visioning and imagining a future we want to live in is our first step in creating it. As a movement we are continually strategising, planning and growing. But before any of that can happen we must dream and create a culture of dreaming.
- Strengthen your visioning muscles - Make daily space (2-5 mins) to imagine
- Share your vision - write and speak of your vision
- Listen for the vision of people who are like you AND not like you
- Act in alignment with your vision - be that future you imagine
- Strategise and design - actions that are constructions of a shared vision
- LOVE like you’ve never loved before!
We recognise that although some rebels will need to rest and recuperate after a large Rebellion or surge of actions, others are energised by Rebellion and are itching to dive into more!
It is also true that rebels will work through the Post-Rebellion process at varying rates. It may be that your group is resting but you have energy! Often these mismatching experiences can lead to frustration without an outlet.
We therefore want to provide resources for rebels who speed through this stage as we have many ongoing campaigns which need attention!