Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London. The Metropolitan police issued a revised section 14 order on Monday night that said, “any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’ ... must now cease their protests within London (MPS and City of London Police Areas)”. Kevin Blowe, coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), said the order effectively amounted to a ban on XR, without going through the due process that would usually be required. “A ban has to be made by the home secretary,” he said.“Our reading of it is that the section 14 powers are supposed to be used with caution because people still have a right to protest and potentially this is unlawful, and there is no other way to put it. Take a look at what section 14 says: it’s about restricting a number of people for a particular duration of time. My feeling is that this has to be open to some form of potential legal challenge.”
Police then moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s camp in Trafalgar Square. Until Monday night, Trafalgar Square had been specified by the Met as the only legitimate protest site. As recently as this evening, police officers enforcing the section 14 had been telling protesters to go to the square if they wanted to continue protesting.
It came after a day in which scores of protesters were arrested for blocking traffic outside the Bank of England. In a statement, the group said: “Extinction Rebellion this morning are disrupting the system bankrolling the environmental crisis. The day of disruption, which will target financial institutions, seeks to highlight the far greater disruption faced by those living in the environments systematically being destroyed by UK-backed companies. The ecological damage is global and it is hitting the global south now.” Protesters said they were switching their focus to the financial institutions “funding environmental destruction”.
Activists were also reportedly arrested outside the office of BAE Systems, the world's fourth largest arms manufacturer.
The group said it was highlighting the link between war and the climate crisis, as well as the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.
In another statement, XR said it was targeting BlackRock to highlight the firm’s financial support for fossil fuels and businesses, which result in the destruction of natural habitats.
“XR is targeting BlackRock because it’s the world’s biggest backer of climate and rainforest destruction,” the group said. “It’s the number one investor in fossil fuels, including coal, and in the companies driving deforestation around the world. XR calls on BlackRock to disinvest from these sectors now and back renewables.”
More than 1,400 people have been arrested during eight days of XR action, with the threat that anyone defying police orders will also be detained. Activists are planning to block roads outside MI5. The group is holding what it called a “roadblock feast” on the south side of the river, which they have carried out previously during the summer protests, where they will be “serving food around a table”
Almost 3,000 demonstrators have now been arrested worldwide,
The Socialist Party is convinced, based on the facts available to anyone, that in our modern, technological age, almost all our problems can be solved. A planet fit for human beings to inhabit has become the question of ultimate survival.
The Socialist Party's case boils down to this simple premise: Let us eliminate the relationships of commodity production, let us produce goods to serve the needs of humanity instead of producing in order to make profits, let us organise our world on a democratically planned base instead of working for the benefit of the stockholders, let us harness the natural wealth of the universe and match it with the trained technology of the workers who live on this planet.
All of the solutions of these problems would then fall into place. Thus, we are now able to eliminate waste. The waste of war. The waste of duplication on the part of many competing companies. The waste of countless unnecessary industries such as banking, insurance, and advertising. We contend that potentially the problem of production has already been solved. We can produce enough food and in infinite abundance. We can build as many homes as may be needed. And ALL WITHOUT GLOBAL WARMING.
The Socialist Party is not interested in a system of production and distribution that ignores the basic purpose of satisfying social and human needs in favour of profits. Any science, in any field of production which does not take into account its social background and human purpose, is no science but merely technology. The benefits of science and technology have yet to reach the multitudes. They have arrived only for a few people who own and control their operations. The scientific information available concerning the natural and mineral resources of the world concludes that there is no shortage. No shortage of agricultural land; no shortage of any form of natural wealth, including energy. Capitalism, which is based on a market economy, has been known to create shortages in order to boost prices. In order to attempt to affect prices, capitalism will curtail production, oft times squandering natural resources. Many resources are considered in short supply due only to the fact that they cannot be brought to the market profitably. Every assessment of wealth is judged in this way. It would not be judged in this way in a socialist society.
The fact is that today, not in the future, mankind has reached a potential super-abundance of all of the requirements to sustain life. Famine in 2019 is inexcusable. Technologically, modern agriculture in the United States alone could produce enough food to feed much of the entire world. We say of the food problem, as we have said of the energy problem: We are not facing some final exhaustion of the world’s sources of food. The economist who sees capitalism as the best of all possible worlds says that we are simply short of capital. Any worldwide solution to the food problem will require the massive investment of resources. We, socialists, say the solution is obvious: Produce only to satisfy human needs and wants.
Energy — that which is the most efficient and environmentally satisfying at the same time.
Transportation — no competing brands of vehicles; only the best will do. Probably more public transportation, but with a view to comfort and convenience.
Manufacturing — any process that despoils nature and endangers man obviously will be discontinued. The inventiveness of our age will overcome any short-range difficulties.
It may sound strange, but really what we are advocating is sanity. We call it socialism.
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