Sunday, July 21, 2019
>>Extinction Rebellion’s Rupert Read is an Oxford‑educated philosopher with impeccable manners. You can’t save the world without a bit of havoc, he says<<
Article by Julia Llewellyn Smith
July 21 2019, 12:01am, The Sunday Times
Rupert Read admits he’s not always the jolliest company. Take him now, describing a possible Britain towards the end of the century. “We’ll be tilling our local soil and scrabbling to exist and evading bandits — those of us that are still alive, that is. Though it doesn’t have to be that way. We could manage things along the lines of an intelligent process.”
“We” is Extinction Rebellion. The British-bred international movement, of which Read is a spokesman, uses non- violent civil disobedience in an effort to push the government into taking immediate action against climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
Established only last year, Extinction Rebellion became famous in April when its protesters spent 11 days blocking some of the busiest streets in central London. Last week the group was back with a “summer uprising”, disrupting traffic in Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and London.
However, the public image of its members as largely jovial tree-huggers was dealt a blow by Scotland Yard’s former head of anti-terrorism, Richard Walton, who on the BBC’s Today programme warned that the group’s leaders were “extremist anarchists”.
Read, 53, a Reader in philosophy at the University of East Anglia and the author of books on Wittgenstein, was quizzed by John Humphrys later in the programme about an Extinction Rebellion statement that the movement was “the best chance we have of bringing down capitalism”.
“Capitalism as we know it has to radically change if we are to have a future we can survive in, let alone prosper,” Read says now, dressed in a white shirt and trousers and mismatched socks.
What about those people who were affected by Extinction Rebellion’s “rebellions”, such as the anonymous man who complained to local radio that he had been unable to make it to the bedside of his dying father in Bristol because the M32 was blocked. “We’re really, really sorry,” Read says.
“When a road is shut, things like this are going to happen. It would be the same, sooner or later, if there were roadworks, but does that mean we shouldn’t have any roadworks? Of course not.
“There will be more incidents like this if we disrupt airports. People won’t be able to get to funerals. It’s sad and regrettable. We’d rather not be doing any of this. None of us wants to spend time in a police cell.
“The way through is for our society to be changed radically so we don’t have to break the law any more.”
Sunday Times XR profile of Rupert Read | Facebook
Sunday, July 21, 2019 >>Extinction Rebellion’s Rupert Read is an Oxford‑educated philosopher with impeccable manners. You can’t save the world without a bit of havoc, he says<< Article by Julia Llewellyn Smith July 21 2019, 12:01am, The Sunday Times Rupert Read admits he’s not always the jolliest company. Take him now, describing a possible Britain… [Read More]