- Why can’t you just hold your demonstrations in a park, on the sidewalk or in front of the parliament?
- Why is civil disobedience justified? How can one possibly achieve change through rebelling?
- Do you want to replace representative democracy or “overthrow the current system”?
- What is the relation between the Extinction Rebellion-movement and Elokapina?
- From where does Elokapina get funding from?
- What is the relation between Elonvaalijat ry and Elokapina?
- Does Elokapina have leaders?
- What is the position of the founders in the movement?
- Is XR classified as organized crime in the UK?
- Was Elokapina mentioned in the review about violent extremism, done by the finish Ministry of Internal affairs?
- Shouldn’t climate change be prevented primarily by consumption choices? Isn’t it in the end about individual choice?
- Finland’s share of the global emissions is extremely small, how could we affect the situation at all?
- Why do you delete comments, by people that have a differing opinion, on social media?
- What is Extinction Rebellion Finland’s position on ecofascism?
Why can’t you just hold your demonstrations in a park, on the sidewalk or in front of the parliament?
Because then our message of the acute climate crisis and the existential threat that we are facing, would be very easily ignored, and the urgency of the situation would not be noticed in relation to reality. Knowledge about climate change has been around since forty years, as well as about the actions necessary to take against it. Nevertheless we are moving toward a three degree increase in temperature, or, in the worst case scenario, a rise of 4,3 degrees.Finland, which has committed to the 1,5 degree limit of the Paris Climate Agreement, will exceed their emissions-budget already in three years. Even just achieving the official target of 2035 for carbon neutrality in Finland, will require the doubling (page 17) of all already decided emission-cuts. So, it would be reasonable to say, that previous methods of demonstrating and other forms of civil engagement haven’t been enough, and our decision makers have failed to take sufficient actions regarding the climate.
That is the reason why the seriosity of the situation has to be highlighted. That is why we practice non-violent civil disobedience. We do recognise that some forms of civil disobedience, like roadblocks, cause some disturbance and for that reason can be unfair towards individual people.1 For this, we are wholeheartedly sorry. We don’t want to be a disturbance. However, we consider that bringing attention to the climate and eco crisis is crucial. We do not have any more time to just sit passively around and hope for the best. What we need is tougher climate policies immediately. We want a world that is a safe and just place for children, and coming generations, to live a good life, and it won’t happen with our current politics.
Read the Elokapina-action consensus.
Why is civil disobedience justified? How can one possibly achieve change through rebelling?
Non-violent civil disobedience is according to research, one of the most effective ways to achieve fast societal change. We are open about our strategy as well: The objective is to try and actively mobilize more and more people into this kind of a movement, to the point that the political system, and other clusters of centralized power have to react. Did you know that civil disobedience played a notable role during Finland’s journey to independence? Also in history is has been a very central aspect of achieving the right to vote for women and ending apartheid.
Civil disobedience is part of democracy’s toolbox. The person participating does it with their own face and own name, and accepts the legal consequences resulting from their actions. This is how Elokapina works.
Civil disobedience is justified then, when the purpose is to bring an injustice to light. When compared to each other, the threat of rapidly accelerating climate change, destruction of nature and ecosystems, the sixth wave of mass extinction and the collapse of human civilisation during this century are existentially huge, where as the disturbance caused by civil disobedience is minimal in comparison. This is why we consider that, now again, we have a moment in history at hand, where it is our moral obligation to rise up and rebel.
Do you want to replace representative democracy or “overthrow the current system”?
Elokapina is not against representative democracy. We demand a citizens assembly to complement the current parliament, and find solutions to issues, that last over an electoral period, like the climate and eco crisis, which the parliament and individual parties have not been able to solve, regardless of the peoples support and assessment.2 New research shows that politicians would like to be able to do better, but they are too busy with market-oriented daily-politics to even start to consider tackling larger societal and systematic issues. Also lobbing, the power of interest groups, short parliamentary terms and government-opposition status make it difficult to push larger scale reformations through, even then when they are viewed as extremely important.
The citizens’ assembly, delegated to consider and process decisions regarding the climate and environment, will consist of a group of normal citizens picked at random. The members chosen for the previously mentioned assembly shall represent all the people in the country by age, gender, ethnicity, level of education and regionality. They shall gather over the duration of multiple months and get access to all needed resources. Members will also have access to research and expert knowledge from scientists, as well as information from personal accounts and experiences of people who are most affected by the matter at hand. The process will be facilitated by professional facilitators, and the impartiality, fairness as well as the equality of representation of said process will be overseen by an independent faculty. All of the decision-making power is with the people. The aim is, without political pressure, to find widely agreeable, most optimal solutions, when considering the grand scope of the current situation.
Elokapina, being a peoples-movement, is committed to strengthening democracy, grass roots activity and societal justice. Our target isn’t to wreck central societal institutions, neither is it our goal to pursue anarchy as a societal state.
Read more about the citizens assembly.
What is the relation between the Extinction Rebellion-movement and Elokapina?
Elokapina is an independent branch of the Extinction Rebellion-movement that is globally active already in over 70 countries. The DNA of the movement is everywhere a like – the values and principles, as well as the three most important demands. The different divisions do modify and adapt the demands, to fit the conditions around them. Each branch, Elokapina included, makes all their decisions independently and defines their own methods of action themselves. Each branch also defines their relation to the other branches themselves, and represents in principle only their own voiced positions. Yet there is power in collaboration; the different branches often take inspiration from each other, as well as share materials and workshops or trainings globally.
From where does Elokapina get funding from?
At this moment (10/2021) Elokapina has two main sources of money.
Some of the costs are shared inside the community so that rebels buy the needed supplies or services themselves, and then the costs are shared afterwards, voluntarily, between rebels who are able to reimburse some of the costs.
Individual people have also been able to make small donations, to support grass roots climate activism and Elokapina, through Elonvaalijat ry. During 2021 Elonvaalijat ry has organised two small collections that were informed to the police, where the revenues have been used to support different activities and undertakings of Elokapina. The specific objects supported by the funds and more information about Elonvaalijat ry can be found at https://elonvaalijat.fi.
Other support and solidarity for Elokapina and the rebels can be offered at [email protected]
What is the relation between Elonvaalijat ry and Elokapina?
Elonvaalijat ry is an independent foundation that was co-founded by individual people in august 2019, that supports the activities of Elokapina by f.x.: managing personal records and making legal fundraisings possible. Elonvaalijat don’t have any power in decisions regarding Elokapina, nor do they take part in planning the actions organized by Elokapina. Similar to Elokapina, Elonvaalijat is non-partisan. More information about Elonvaalijat ry can be found on their website: https://elonvaalijat.fi.
Does Elokapina have leaders?
Elokapina is without hierarchical power structures or leaders. We are a decentralized grass roots peoples movement, and our activities are guided by principles of autonomy. Engagement in the movement happens through taking part in different activities or planning said activities. In Elokapina rebels work in groupings and workgroups with their own areas of interest and mandates. The areas and mandates are defined together between the different groups. Common to all groups and rebels is the commitment to the values and principles, the common goal and the demands set. See details in the self organisational guide of Elokapina.
What is the position of the founders in the movement?
About 20 people took part in the first meeting of Elokapina, i.e. the Finish branch of the Extinction Rebellion-movement. Some of them are still involved in the movement, others are nowadays inactive. Elokapina is non-hierarchical and therefore doesn’t have a high command. The coordinator-roles, of the groupings and workgroups inside of Elokapina, are changed every 3–6 months, to keep the work environment as dynamic and diverse as possible, and to prevent the accumulation of power. Founding members do not have an official, special, position inside the movement.
Extinction Rebellion UK has about 15 founding members. It is understandable (though not desirable) that, even though XR UK too is decentralized and acts autonomically, the founding members of the movement have got their fair share of visibility than many others. Especially the media hanker after interesting and visible figureheads to write articles about. Some of the founders of Extinction Rebellion UK are still involved, while others are nowadays inactive.
What is Elokapina’s position regarding Roger Hallam?
One of XR UK’s founding members, Roger Hallam, has become infamous through some controversial statements, where he is considered to have urged people to commit violent acts towards political and economic elite, and belittle the holocaust. Many of the Extinction Rebellion-branches have resigned from these statements. Some of the comments are from the time when Hallam was representing XR UK and some are from the time after. Because of criticism regarding the statements, Hallam has given up being a representative of XR UK during 2020. Roger Hallam has also founded a new political party, independent of XR.
Hallams comments speculating on violence are not in accordance with the principles and values of Elokapina or the Extinction Rebellion-movement. Each individual taking part in Elokapina and its activities commits to non-violence, nor do we condone violence in any of its forms. In addition we consider that the holocaust should not be belittled.
Furthermore, Hallam has been a part of XR’s strategicgal work, and held lectures on the subject, suggesting that the governments of other countries should explicitly be overthrown and replaced wholly with citizens assemblies. This is not the strategy of Elokapina, nor of XR UK. The method of Elokapina is to make the climate and eco crisis radically visible by non-violent civil disobedience. Our premise is, that expressing the volition of the people by practicing civil disobedience puts enough pressure on decision makers, for them to carry out the required climate actions in relation to the severity of our current situation – or form a citizens assembly to decide on it. Elokapina does not aim to wreck or overthrow societal institutions, neither do we pursue societal anarchy.
In his lectures, Hallam has also said that overthrowing the government will result in deaths, suggesting that the government would respond to non-violent civil disobedience with fatal use of force. This is not part of Elokapina’s strategy. We do not aim for or wish for anyone to die in the name of our cause, nor as consequence in trying to advance it. XR-protests have been held globally since 2018 and, according to our knowledge, there have been no deaths in relation to any of them.
Is XR classified as organized crime in the UK?
No. The UK police found the suggestion, made by the conservative government, to name the local XR as organized crime, preposterous. According to a representative of the police the XR-movement is, inside the police, understood to be a peace full peoples movement, that is committed to non-violent civil disobedience. UK’s policeforce also notes that XR is not a extremist organisation, and including XR in the anti-terrorist units document of extremist organizations would be an error of assessment.
Was Elokapina mentioned in the review about violent extremism, done by the finish Ministry of Internal affairs?
Yes. We do not know why. We find the mention absurd, for in Elokapina, in the center of every thought process, conversation and action is the philosophy of non-violence. Read our open letter to Maria Ohisalo, the Minister of Internal affairs.
Shouldn’t climate change be prevented primarily by consumption choices? Isn’t it in the end about individual choice?
The change has to always start from somewhere, and the smallest component of societal change is the individual. But when standing in front of such an incomprehensibly huge problem, like the climate crisis, feeling powerless is completely normal and believing, that anyone else would, individually, be doing enough in favour of the climate, is difficult. Thus approaching the issue by focusing on individuals, passivates, and in the worst case, prevents people taking action.
Even though various climate actions are necessary also on an individual level, they are, according to studies, not nearly enough. Personal consumption choices are also hugely limited by the boundaries set by society. Talk that focuses on individual choices, takes a lot of the attention away from the wide scale of possibilities that would enable big, and efficient, emission cuts. The structure needs to change. To return back to the perimeters of our planets capacity to sustain us, we have to make changes to the very core of our economic affairs: we need to decrease the production of energy, as well as limit our material consumption. A wide-scale societal change on a structural level is needed, which will mean the use of legislative power.
Elokapina strives to solve this issue by demanding and pressuring politicians to make the changes that are needed and by feeding the public discussions about the subject, and through that, the common will, so that such a big scale change would be able to happen.
Finland’s share of the global emissions is extremely small, how could we affect the situation at all?
Climate change, being not only an international, but also a national issue, obligates every country to do their own part in taking on the issue. Being part of a nationwide movement that is active in over 70 countries, Elokapina is capable of responding to both of the aspects of the issue, but still focusing primarily on the aspects closest to citizens and on influencing the national government.
We Finns have the obligation to change our ways: even though Finland is a relatively small country, on an individual level the carbon footprint of a finn is one of the highest in the world, it being double as high as of a Chinese person, and five times higer when compared to someone from India.3 Looking at things through the viewpoint of historical ethics, we have been generating carbon emissions long before many of the developing countries. The difference between the accumulated emissions between the global north and the global south are enormous. So, for fairness, countries that have a long history of emissions, including Finland, have to decrease their current emissions immediately.
We have the conditions to change: Finland, being one of the wealthy Nordic countries, were the public institutions work well and excel in various comparisons, is in an exceptionally able position to implement the necessary fast changes. The memory of the time when, after the second World War, society had to be rebuilt, still lives on in the finish people, to which the coming ecological rebuilding is comparable. Encouraging examples on the global arena are required, so that bigger countries, and countries that are not able to change in such a fast pace, can be motivated to follow.
Why do you delete comments, by people that have a differing opinion, on social media?
We do not delete comments that criticize, as long as they are appropriate. We try to keep the discussion respectful and appropriate towards other people. We do, however, hide or delete comments that target individuals by bashing and berating and comments that contain fantasies of violence, hate speech and climate denialism (i.e. denying climate change as a thing or a threat). Climate change is not an opinion, but a phenomenon that science unanimously agrees on.
Climate denialism is a waiting game being spread by certain interest rates, which has been used for decades to slow down climate action. Delaying and climate denialism kill people and animals. This is why we delete climate denialist comments and why we don’t take part in unnecessary debates about the subject, where climate research and science are in clear mutual understanding. We focus our resources on demanding the needed climate actions and spreading awareness about the gravity of the crisis.
What is Extinction Rebellion Finland’s position on ecofascism?
Extinction Rebellion Finland opposes ecofascism and does not collaborate with individuals or organisations that support or promote ecofascist ways of thinking. We are concerned of language that is characteristic of ecofascism becoming more common in the mainstream.
In ecofascism, nature is protected at the expense of lives of other people, justice and equity of mankind. In ecofascist thinking, means that can be used in the name of conserving nature include violence against other people as well as other totalitarian means, such as threat of violence, production of inequality, oligarchy, repression of minorities, patriarchy, eugenics and white supremacy. In other words, ecofascism seeks to protect the rights of the wealthiest and the most privileged people and nations over the rights of the world’s poorest and most oppressed groups using such anti-liberal and anti-democratic means under the guise of conserving the nature and working to prevent the climate/environmental crisis.
Commonly seen manifestations of ecofascism include demands for a drastic reduction of the world’s population through violence, war or totalitarian coercion, as well as demands for refusing to offer help to people in dire need – in violation of both morality and the international law – while arguing that mass deaths are necessary and unavoidable to protect nature or climate.
In addition to such extremist modes of operation, ecofascism can manifest in mainstream politics when conserving the nature and mitigating the climate/environmental crisis are used as a basis for racist anti-immigration, anti-refugee and social inequality policies that do not respect the equal human rights of all people. In ecofascist policies, the often nominal environmental gains resulting from measures that compromise human rights (such as closing of borders and denying of the right to asulym) are deliberately not set in proportion with the fundamental value of human rights, and fairer policies are generally not even considered. Political agendas like these are usually also characterized by a refusal to intervene in the activities of the people who consume most of the resources.
Signs of ecofascist rhetoric
Ecofascist rhetoric untruthfully presents population growth in the global South and migration as the primary or sole causes of the ecological crisis. In ecofascist rhetoric, measures such as forced sterilization, withdrawing of development aid, closing of borders, rejection of refugees and accepting of mass deaths caused by extreme weather events are seen as solutions that should be utilised in mitigating the ecological crisis. The aggravation of the ecological crisis is directly or indirectly blamed on groups of people that have actually contributed the least to the acceleration of the crisis, such as the workers, farmers and native people of the global South.
We have also published a Twitter thread on ecofascism (in Finnish with list of references in English).
Safety is always first priority in all of our actions. We do not engage in life or health threatening disturbances; e.g.: we let all emergency vehicles pass immediately through our roadblocks. ↩
Recent data from opinion polls, shows that 89% of Finns believe that climate change is a serious issue. Only 1% were of the opinion that climate change doesn’t need to be controlled at all. ↩