A little over a year ago, back in April 2019, I joined one of Extinction Rébellion Québec (XRQC)’s working groups in Montréal. The movement was quite small then, but I already saw its potential. I was inspired by the huge mobilization in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. The human encounters and the feeling of finally having a common cause to defend were enough for me. Just three months later, I was involved in a civil disobedience action, sacrificing some of my individual freedoms to send a strong message: the climate crisis is on our doorstep, yet we keep heading towards disaster at an increasing pace.
I am very proud of many of XRQC’s accomplishments over the past year. In particular, with the help of groups like La Planete S’invite au Parlement, the C.E.V.E.S. and others, we managed to bring the climate emergency back into the media spotlight. Opinions over Extinction Rebellion tactics vary, but over the last months we have developed a network of solidarity with different local activist groups. XRQC has also stood apart through our focus on climate justice, particularly in the colonial contexts of Canada and Québec. It was an opportunity for many to learn how to deconstruct, listen and help where necessary.
However, there is still work to be done. Through months of actions, campaigns and consultations, many conflicts, questions and doubts have taken place. Were we inclusive enought? Were our tactics the best to serve our goals? Were we able to ensure the safety of our activists, particularly those involved in civil disobedience? How can we mobilize outside of the city? Could we adapt the popularity of the movement in the UK to our reality in Québec? These issues and questions remain inseparable from the work being done at XRQC.
Nevertheless, the initial proposal of Extinction Rebellion seemed to me like the most radical, realistic and open, among the other organizations that crossed my path. Anyone who shares our demands and respects the 10 principles can take ownership of the movement, and make it their own. In other words, Extinction Rebellion is a mobilizing force that changes, evolves according to the needs and adapts to the realities of those who adopt it. It is our duty to make XR what we want it to be, and keep working together to ensure that it serves the most important issues, for the well-being of all.
A year later, I still accept Extinction Rebellion’s mission: mobilizing the population out of love for the living, and out of anger against the system that destroys it.