Focus: Extinction Rebellion, Civil Disobedience and Social Change

This episode is an edit of an panel discussion on “Civil Disobedience and Social Change” that took place in the Teacher Club in Dublin a few weeks ago.  While the discussion looks at civil disobedience in the general sense, a lot of the conversation revolved around challenging preconceptions of the term as well as its limitations. A significant theme arising in the discussion focused Extinction Rebellion’s organising models, strategy and the perceived lack of politics in the context of civil disobedience. 

On our panel were: 

Manuel from Extinction Rebellion, the climate action group at the centre of international actions around climate change. Extinction Rebellion is drawing large number of people together to act on climate change and encourages acts of mass civil disobedience and deliberate arrests as a key strategy for achieving policy change governments. 

Aisling Hederman from Dublin Housing Action, a community activist involved with ‘Apollo House’ – a widely supported occupation in Dublin in December 2016 focusing on the still growing homeless and housing crisis in Ireland – and ‘Dublin Housing Action’ , a community led organized response to the housing crisis and 

Jerrieann Sullivan, teacher and educator involved with the Shell to Sea campaign which ran for almost 10 years and remains one of the most significant social struggles in Ireland in recent decades involving resistance to oil and gas giant Shell. Jerrieann has a background in both formal and informal education and as we hear was involved in some initial trainings for XR, an experience which has helped inform some of the questions arising in the discussion.

The panel was facilitated by Tom Campbell from the Department of International Development at Maynooth University.

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Focus is an audio project from Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers and volunteers.  Produced and hosted by Mark Malone, Focus is a mix of documentaries and and interviews. Over time it takes a varied look at issues and themes around global inequality and talks to people involved in different ways in challenging inequality and injustices wherever they are.