After the uproar concerning a co-founder of the group, Extinction Rebellion is facing criticism.
The mastermind behind one of the most spectacular eco-movements of our time turns out to be a man who — inadvertently or not — downplayed the Holocaust. Roger Hallam called the genocide of Jews “just another fuckery in human history”. In an interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, of all places. Leading XR activists have distanced themselves and the movement from his controversial statement. Could the lapse be put down as a mistake in the early stages of a movement that’s growing in political influence? One that attracts those with questionable views along the way?
But the trouble goes far beyond this incident, unfortunately. In the world of XR, doubt about representative democracy raises its ugly head, too, for example. This is implied whenever Hallam ridicules parliaments.
All this points to one thing: that the climate crisis qualifies activists to take unusual liberties. But also to proclaim an emergency that suspends fundamental rules? Extinction Rebellion need to provide clarity. And reassure us that they have no delusions of authoritarianism.
Translated by Aida Baghernejad