The Revolution Manual
HOW TO BRING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT AND REPLACE IT WITH CITIZENS ASSEMBLIES
“the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of duties.”
This is a work in progress – as is Burning Pink- and all good things.
Almost four hundred years ago the people of Britain fought a bloody and passionate civil war to establish a principle: no man rules us for his own pleasure, no group of people have the right to impose their tyranny upon us.
The victors of that war made that principle for themselves but not for others – not for the poor, nor for women, nor for the people of Britain’s colonies. But the genie was out of the bottle.
We have rights, we are citizens, we will not be denied our dignity: the rights to life and to a livelihood. Any government that wishes to take us to death is not a government, but a band of criminals.
A century later the settlers in America had had enough of British tyranny. The citizens of Boston walked up the hill to the redcoats and shouted: “go on then, fucking shoot us if you dare”. The shots rang out, America exploded in revolt and created a republic.
The victors of that war got their rights but denied them to American Indians and to Black peoples. But the genie was out of the bottle.
We have rights. And we will not be denied them.
All over the world indigenous wisdoms have fused with the revolutionary idea that we will not be trampled upon. We have inalienable rights.
If any government wishes to lead us to our deaths then revolt is,
‘the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of duties.’
Yes, it is. No shit.
Is it not our most indispensable duty to bring down any government that entertains such radical evil as to destroy this beautiful world, in exchange for a few more years of accumulating bits of paper with numbers written on them?
This is a manual on how we are going to do it. Come what may.
Burning Pink’ twin tasks are
1). removing the government and
2). replacing government with citizens assemblies. Here is outlined basic stuff that Burning Pink people (BPers, pronounced beepers) need to know.
Now, humankind is facing its final moment of reckoning: ecological and climate collapse. Are we going to stand by and allow the fuckers in control of this world to take us to oblivion or a hell of endless pain, for their own pleasures; or are we going to come together and say, we are the people and we will not be denied?
-Roger Hallam, June 2020.
PART 1: THE BURNING PINK PLAN
Our aim: to bring down the government or to win the elections (whichever happens first) and to replace government with citizens assemblies. Citizens assemblies can address the CEE (climate and ecological crisis), make sure we look after each other properly, and set directions for everything else. In short, our aim is to set a new direction so we avoid being totally fucked.
It’s pretty straightforward, really.
Why Burning Pink?
Our world is breaking down. That is now obvious to everyone who is paying attention or doesn’t have the privilege not to pay attention. COVID is part of the general ecological and social collapse, which is now unstoppable. We have weakened by decades of austerity which has made us turn in on ourselves, to fight each other rather than the rich and powerful who have captured our governments – whoever is that we vote for.
We are in a crisis, heading into another crisis, which will destroy our jobs and livelihoods, our families and communities, and our nations. It’s shit, but we have to get a grip and see the world as it is; ignoring it is only going to lead our kids into an endless hell.
Burning Pink is set up to do some obvious things which need doing, right now.
First, we need to stop the lying. We are here to tell people the blunt Truth in language everyone understands – because any democracy worth the name has to deal with the real world, rather than what the elites want us to believe.
We are in the middle of a total crisis, and if we don’t get our act together, we are going to suffer more than we can imagine.
We are bringing people together in communities to talk about everything that is going on; to connect in our desperation, despair, and rage.
Let’s be honest – deep down (or not so deep down) we are all totally depressed- it has come to this. Burning Pink is making a single proposition: is better to act than to sit around waiting to die.
Most importantly, we have to understand how change happens – not with announcements, paying subscriptions, going on marches and all that. It happens through emotion (people getting mad) and disruption (breaking the rules and breaking the law) – banging on the table and saying “no”. That’s what people do when they have had enough.
That’s what people who came before us did. They fought and died to create the decent society we inherited from them. Unless we act, then we will betray their sacrifice, and we will betray our children, who will be left with nothing but endless shit – to put it bluntly, the buck has stopped with us.
Specifically, this means bringing people together for talks and assemblies, doing direct action against local and national governments, and standing in elections to tell people we are not like the political parties.
Our core aim is to enable people to make the decisions themselves, because the politicians have made such a mess of it. Let’s face it, they are gutless and clueless, and they are not going to change. They can’t handle the Truth, and they can’t act on it.
There is only one option – we have to do it ourselves. Our aim is what we all want – to remove the political class from power. We will replace it with citizens’ assemblies of ordinary people who will decide our response to the climate and ecological crisis and on all the other things which need sorting out. No one can make a worse job of it that the politicians’. This is not a slogan – we are serious and working with experts on a new constitution – a roadmap to a fair and just society that is prepared for what is coming.
Pressure will come, as it always does, from local revolt – through elections to local councils- combined with action on the streets.
Burning Pink is not about messing about. We have a clear organisational structure. We have the skills and dedication. We are getting on with it, and we take risks. Many of us helped to build Extinction Rebellion, which went from zero to 100,000 people in 12 months. We can do it again.
It’s time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and come together to act. This is the only way to live a meaningful life – a life with purpose and self-respect. Once you decide to act, then things fall into place. You are no longer fighting with yourself, dragging yourself down. You decide to get on with it – and accept the support of others. That’s the only way to live at this time.
And so why “Burning Pink”? Because we are not them – we don’t want a name for a political party that sounds like the rest of them. We are what we are. Maybe it’s because the world is burning, our hearts are burning – and beneath the skin, we are all pink.
And that’s the central message: We face destruction unless we realise we are all the same.
We need to come together, or we are going to die apart. That’s where we are right now. Let’s get to it.
THE SERIOUS BIT: THE CONSTITUTION
This is the formal constitution: the rules about how we organise ourselves.
The aim of Burning Pink to win elections on a platform of creating citizens assemblies. We hold a firm belief that the non-elected public should decide on matters that will affect them, their children and all they hold dear. The climate crisis is the main challenge we face, running alongside all other issues which impact on our daily lives. Burning Pink encourages the engagement of the public in all political decision making, through forms of participatory democracy.
The Party is registered in Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland).
The party will contest all types of elections – local, mayoral, and national elections.
The party will have a membership and a national coordination group (NCG). The latter will be self selecting initially, and later -when BP exceeds 300 members- will be selected by a designated group chosen randomly from membership. NCG selection process will take place annually.
The NCG will have nine members and will have a quorum of seven members. It will make decisions by simple majority vote.
Electoral candidates are selected by the NCG by a simple majority vote. The precise details of candidate selection will be decided by the NCG. The NCG will also decide on Party leader(s).
All governance structures of the party will be recorded in a founding document. Weekly meetings of the NCG will delegate to working groups particular mandated areas of responsibility as the need arises.
There will be three party officers: the NCG facilitator responsible for chairing meetings; the NCG secretary responsible for taking minutes and keeping party documentation in good order; the NCG treasurer responsible for financial affairs of the party and signing off accounts as detailed in the Finance Scheme documentation.
The occupants of these positions will be decided by NCG. Additional party officers will be created by the NCG, as needed.
Party officers will hold their post for 12 months and then have to be re-elected into their positions by the NCG. They may stand for re-election if they wish. Any officers can be removed from their position at any time through a proposal being presented to the NCG (by ten party members) and being passed by NCG by majority vote.
Any member of the public will be able to join the party if they sign an agreement to uphold the aims and values of the party. If they break these rules their membership can be removed. Such decisions are made by majority vote of the NCG.
The party has adopted its financial scheme. The party will have a bank account and financial officers responsible for it.
The constitution of the party can be changed or the party dissolved if seven out of the nine members of the NCG vote for it.
THE NATIONAL ORGANISATION
(July 2020 – updated as it evolves)
The National Coordination Group makes the final decisions on all BP matters (see the constitution above).
The Process Working Group has the mandate (what the group is allowed to do) to do admin, coordination between NCG meetings, and develop the organisation of BP (bringing proposals as needed to the NCG). It will work on the revolution manual which sets out the whole BP organisational system.
National Working Groups are also set up
To maintain clarity of vision and ethics it is both necessary and most effective to have overall control of BP in the hands of the National Coordination Group (see above).
BP can create projects, as well as give advice and funds to other groups, to engage people’s assemblies, community developments, and to stand in elections on the basis of written agreements. These written agreements will allow groups and candidates to use the BP logo (the Burning Pink Heart) and mandate.
BP is about dealing with the upcoming crises through creating citizen’s assemblies, not by making specific policies. The issue is not about arguing over a whole bunch of policies through long drawn out bureaucratic processes, but about getting on with the job. If people want to join a big political party then there are plenty of others around, or they can set up their own.
BP is about getting on with the job using a ‘good enough to go’ way of working. BP has a clear way to make decisions so that we don’t get bogged down in process politics: we won’t talk endlessly about the way to do things. There is just no time to get everything perfect.
The show is run by the NCG. The NCG creates working groups as needed, including specific groups to work across projects (cross group project groups). It aims to give maximum autonomy to the groups within the bounds of the strategies and policies of the party, so people can get on with their jobs. NCG can delegate its own work to specific groups such as a process group to sort out admin, a membership group to assess applications and to look at appeals, a morale and support group to get feedback and to respond to members’ questions and concerns. Groups can be changed by the NCG as needed.
Members of BP (BPers, pronounced BeePers) are encouraged to go ahead with any action that falls entirely within the set agreed format for actions.
A separate feedback system will be used by the NCG to check on any proposed action by members that does not immediately fit within the set format. The process is as follows:
- A group of people work on a proposal (something they want to see done).
- They share it with other people, ideally 2-4 others, to get their responses.
- They change the proposal as they see fit and give it to the NCG to be considered.
- The NCG accepts the proposal unanimously or by consensus, and this is minuted; or the proposal is given back to the group to alter. Often a workshop can be held between the proposers and people on the NCG that have a problem with it. A changed proposal is presented the following week to the NCG.
- The amended proposal can be voted on (see constitution) and then accepted or rejected by simple majority vote.
Note this process should not take more than 3 weeks unless there are exceptional circumstances. We need to work fast to get things changed. The process is not negotiable. Write the proposal and see if others agree with you. If they do, great. If not, follow the process above. If still rejected, then get on with something else.
Joining the Gang.
We need you to know what we’re about before you join BP.
There are regular induction meetings. Every member or supporter needs to go to an induction session before becoming involved in a working group. We may expand the induction session into a whole day induction as things get going to allow people to get to know our way of working and to become involved straight away.
National coordination meetings are held fortnightly. Non-voting members of BP (BPers) can attend meetings if agreed.
Three types of BPer:
CCG members – this is the party executive (it makes the big decisions). All the people in it need to be members of the party.
Members – pay a minimum of £10 a month to BP, have to be active in a working group or local group, spend an average of 10 hours a week on BP related activities, and sign a document to say they agree with the aims, principles and constitution.
Supporters – pay what they want (or nothing) and/or join in set projects under the brand of BP as agreed by the NCG.
Election of NCG members
Between 6 and 12 months after the registration of the BP, the founding members of the NCG will have to stand in an election.
A Council of 20 members will be selected randomly from the whole membership. The Council will take applications for membership of the NCG. Applicants will have to be members for at least 3 months and be supported by 10 other members. Present NCG members can re-apply. The Council will select up to 20 NCG applicants to be interviewed. Each Council member will vote for three candidates; the 9 people with most votes will form the new NCG for 12 months. Then the process will be repeated. Details of this process will be sorted out by the Process Working Group.
Protocol for asking a member to leave
Do not be offended if you are asked to leave BP. BP is a disciplined organisation and needs to get on with bringing down the government. Not everyone is suitable for this task. There are many other roles out there to change society so you might be better suited to one of those instead. Alternatively, if you decide you don’t like BP – that’s cool, you are of course free to set up your own political party or action group.
We are working in very difficult and emotional times, on the subject of life itself. We are all in the process of learning.
Tolerance, of ourselves and others, is vital.
We know BPers and supporters may lose their temper or have a bad day. It is important to apologise, and to receive and accept an apology, so that everyone can move on.
There are four main reasons you might be asked to leave:
- If you are politically abusive or make other people feel guilty. Some “political” people may not fit into BP – BP is a group that is about getting beyond politics and getting on with the job of bringing down the government. We are not about debating policy details or ideology.
- If you are having difficulties working well with other people in BP. If you are disrupting the team and/or people aren’t able to work with you, then you will be asked to leave. Many groups are brought to a standstill by disruptive members, and we don’t have time for this. You might be a cool person, with no intention of being disruptive, but you will still need to move on.
- If you’re racist or sexually abusive or aggressive then that’s not tolerated and you will be asked to leave immediately. On the other hand, if you say something that is tricky another member may discuss it with you after the meeting. This does not apply to standard street speech (swearing) or working-class banter. We are not about being precious.
- If you don’t contribute, but instead regularly sit at meetings making negative comments, then please leave. BP is for people who want to get on with stuff, not sit around waiting to die.
You can be asked to leave by a coordinator of your working group/local group or by someone from the process group. If you are just being tricky or not pulling your weight then a coordinator will speak to you about it so you have a chance to respond. If things don’t change then they are likely to ask you to leave. We hope we have a good time together, but there is no time for messing around.
If you want to appeal you will need to write to the National Process Group within seven days. Keep your appeal short, maximum of one page. The National Process Group will consider your appeal within seven days of receiving it. Any decision they make is final.
If you are not getting on with someone, the first step is to have a chat after a meeting. Do not confront people in meetings because that slows things down and can make conflict worse.
If this does not sort it out, contact the process group (or a morale/support working group) and ask for a Quick Mediation. A mediator will sit with the two of you; each person will be able to say how it is for them. The mediator will summarise what you have each said, check it is correct, and then each person has a chance to make requests.
If the conflict prevents efficient working together after mediation, the next step is to speak with the coordinator of your working group.
Bear in mind that we are all in service. Ask yourself if you can accept the differences you have with the other person. Move on if you can. If you can’t move on, and if you are sure the situation needs to be sorted out, then take the steps above.
Money and Fundraising
BP will raise money via fundraising and subscription to pay for basic living expenses, dependent on need, so that skilled people (working full-time) can take projects forward. Money raised can also be used to fund collaborative projects, such as people’s assemblies and community projects.
Creative use of media and action will get our name known in the national media and lead to more supporters and financial support.
People will be allocated funding on the basis of competence and need. Anyone who gets living expenses has to attend a meeting every three months, to give a report to appropriate fellow workers and working group coordinator. (how to do this link). If everything is cool, then funding can continue. It’s possible you may be asked to take less money, to make sure that money is available to others in greater need. Or you can ask for more if your own needs have increased. The coordinator of the Budget Council (see below) makes the final decision on this.
Your living expenses may be stopped if you are not doing your job well, or not doing the work required. We are not a soft option here. Money is very valuable to provide funds for people to work full or part time for BP who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to work with us. Money makes the party more able to increase diversity and bring on people from marginalised groups in society. It needs to be used to maximum effect.
Decisions about which working groups or individuals get which budgets, will be made at Budget Council meetings to be set up by the NCG.
Funds will be used to help people from marginalised groups take on roles within BP. This is not tokenism – it’s about providing support for great people to make sure they can be part of the BP teams.
Setting up Burning Pink Local Teams
We encourage supporters who sign up to the party to set up local teams based upon a geographical area with a name – such as “BP wanderers based in Hackney”. They sign a clear document on what they can and can’t do to become an official BP team (eg no to racism, but yes to leafleting and street stalls). No group has a monopoly over an area and all teams need to split once they get more than 15 people. All groups will be required to complete induction training, and ongoing training for key skills (e.g. effective campaigning, good meeting practice, creating a welcoming culture –in order to become an official BP team promoted on the website and in social media. All local team members will give a small monthly subscription (£5/£10) to fund the central teams and local organisers.
Alliance of the willing orientation
BP is not the type of progressive organisation that endlessly tries to include everyone and then may get bogged down because no one can make collective decisions effectively, with the result that ordinary people get alienated and leave.
BP is an alliance of the willing – a group of people who create collective projects which go ahead if enough people make a commitment to take part provided that a critical mass of others join in (conditional commitment). If enough people buy into the idea then it goes ahead.
BP is set up to allow ordinary people to take power. We will eventually let go of all power we may have gained. Our aim is to hand over power to Citizens’ Assemblies. This bypasses the need to discuss policies within BP. This manual gives us a way to work efficiently with this purpose. The structure of BP is not up for debate.
If people don’t like the organisation they don’t have to join – they can do their own thing. You don’t have to get stressed about us getting power because we are not taking power – the plan is for ordinary people to make decisions through citizens assemblies. We are an anti-political party, party!
Disciplined at the centre – autonomous at the grassroots
We aim to get the best of both worlds. To be disciplined, hard working and organised at the centre. And at a local level to enable teams to get on with local political agitation with minimal interference from the centre. There are a few basic rules and then you get on and make up the rest. At the same time, we plan national strategy on the basis of getting the maximum pressure into one point in space and time (it’s a military thing).
Nonviolence: the rules (provisional)
BP is absolutely committed to nonviolence and anyone breaking this rule will be asked to leave or will be unable to use the BP brand (this will be registered so people cannot run off with it). Nonviolence means no aggression or violence towards other members, the public or the authorities. It does permit specific damage to property which can be done with your hands – e.g. throwing or spraying paint, or breaking windows. Anything other than these three activities needs to be checked with the national action working group. It does not mean people resist arrest – no running from arrest, but walking off is fine. Doing secretive paintings on the streets and such is okay. You can walk away from a scene of “criminal damage” if you want, and continue elsewhere, but if the police arrive you cannot run away. Sitting in the road and similar, blocking/gluing is all fine.
This policy reflects a balance between showing ourselves to be fearless and willing to take responsibility for our actions, and getting damage done to places where evil is being perpetuated.
If in doubt, consult with the actions working group. If you are confident that an action falls within the rules set out above, then get on with it without consulting. Working groups within BP are set up on a basis of autonomy and trust, within these agreed conditions
Revolutionary Strategy (how we get things sorted out)
“We didn’t give a fuck what people thought of us and that was our strength”
BP is about doing what is necessary, not what is possible. It is about sticking to our revolutionary plan whether the corporate media and the “public” like it or not. Our orientation is “we don’t give a fuck what people think about us and this is our strength” (taken for Larry Kramer of ACT UP – the campaign against people dying form Aids and they were super successful – see “In Love and Anger” on You Tube).
Who we are aiming to recruit
We are not aiming to recruit middle class kids who want to be super radical for a few years and guilt trip everyone, and then burn out and go back to their privileges. Kids who want to learn and work with their passion are super welcome.
We are not aiming to recruit political people with strange dogmatic views who can’t work in groups and who get into arguments about weird abstract stuff (nothing personal). If you are “political” but want to work in service with humility to get the job done – then please sign up.
We are aiming to recruit working people who have drive and a spark, who want to take down a system which is doing them in. We want to attract ordinary people who want to do radical stuff in a welcoming, not take ourselves too seriously but get shit done, atmosphere.
We welcome people from all backgrounds and cultures – whether middle class or working class or whatever– who want to work in teams to get on with the job of bringing down the government and building a new world of people power based upon Citizens’ Assemblies.
We are holding activities to bring down the government every 2 to 3 months until we succeed.
- We will stand in all the elections we can afford to, and create fundraisers to do this. A local team can choose a candidate or have an open assembly to choose a local candidate. The candidate will sign an agreement to follow BP rules and then can stand as an official BP candidate. The primary platform of local candidates is to develop local Citizens’ Assemblies for policy planning. We people want them on and they engage in civil disobedience in the council to the extent it refuses to go into active rebellion against the genocidal government which is planning the deaths of local people but refusing to take emergency action on the climate crisis.
- We will hold meetings and People’s Assemblies in working class areas. We will invite people to create their own programmes and to stand in elections. BP will provide organisational help so that people can do their own direct actions. We will encourage people to make speeches and testimonies which are full of emotion. We encourage people to step into their power.
- We are not against leaders, we want loads of them.
- Have press conferences – occupy public places e.g. estate agents, company headquarters.
- Brainstorm small high impact actions with selected super creative people from arts and actions within XR and related networks. Whatever is mad enough to get attention.
- Then write them up and do videos on them and put them on our social media for people to copy. (Including cool online stuff people do on TikTak)
- Work with people doing peoples assemblies and community project development leading to non cooperation campaigns eg rent strikes, council tax strikes
- Possibly start a campaign against the new tunnel of Sadiq Khan – something we can win on. Do whatever it non-violently takes to cause disruption and win. This gets our name into the press and attracts people who want to join an organised civil disobedience set up which focuses on getting stuff done. And prepares the way for Valerie to stand for London major. And/or do other major civil disobedience campaigns.
- Online Call outs for mass demos when there is a crisis!
- Focus on how crap the basics of life are – bread and butter issues – food transport housing.
- Bait the liberals – newspapers, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), political parties by doing direct action to expose their complacency and complicity.
- Create videos and online content to promote itself and other good stuff that is happening
“The future is now. It’s time to grow up and be strong. Tomorrow may well be too late.”
-Neil LaBute, Reasons To Be Pretty
The system needs to be confronted on all levels
There is no time now for organisations “doing this but not that”. BP has to do what is necessary wherever that necessity appears and be able to quickly take up new projects as the opportunity appears. With a clear central decision making process given to a small accountable team it can be quick and flexible.
Longer Term strategy – Staying Revolutionary.
The plan is to stay fixed on our revolutionary project regardless of the attractions of posh people or getting invited to posh events/places. This is mainly because it is only a matter of time before there are ecological “9/11s” where thousands and millions of people die and the economy gets massively disrupted (like Covid but forever). This will radicalise ordinary people and we will reap the political support as the guys who were first out on the block saying “it’s all over – we need to take down the regime”.
In the meantime we can have a massive effect on society by opening up what gets talked about (the “overton window”) so that people start talking about taking down the government. The more we stay with our “ridiculous” aims, the more likely people will start to change their views.
We are in an “escape from Colditz” situation: if we take a course to change only a part of the system, it will be easier for now but make our extinction certain. There is only time for Revolution now. By taking the risk of being super radical now we open up the possibility of creating the massive shift in political power we need, to have any hope of surviving what is coming down the line.
So we need to make sure we don’t get co-opted by lots of liberal-minded middle class people who like to take things over (have that entitled thing) and destroy our revolutionary vision and practice, like 38 degrees and XR have (no disrespect guys).
Note this does not mean we might not go in for getting an intermediate win to get credibility at a strategic moment. This would be decided by the NCG on the basis of tactical considerations.
Appealing to ordinary people – “Left Populism with fun element”
The whole “ambiance” – that is feel – of BP (if you haven’t noticed) is not to get all formal and university educated. We write super plain stuff in everyday street language because we don’t need to be intimidated by all those professional people who are fucking up the world and telling us what to do at the same time.
We speak our truth whatever our mood at the time – full of rage, have a laugh, really sad, all lovey-dovey. It’s all about being human, right?
We don’t use lefty language but speak about things as they are – in stories and pictures and art and jokes. We are beyond politics – we are bringing real life and real people into politics and making it our own – because this country is our country – it belongs to everyone living here. It’s not a playground for Eton elites and all that lot. This is our time.
Paths to success.
We work to build up pressure for change, firstly by doing maximum disruption so everyone respectable hates us. This establishes us on the political scene, and shows ordinary people we are not like the rest of the politicians.
Then, we organise mass civil disobedience to the point of exhausting the police so they stop being prats supporting the fuckers in Westminster and they refuse to arrest us. In the end the police will say their duty is to the country not the regime which is taking our kids to hell. (Have a look at our leaflets). A few thousand arrests and the police will be overwhelmed. We coordinate with other groups and movements who are truly committed to system change to actually bring about system change (rather than endlessly talking about it).
We then pivot to speaking for the country against the 1% and say this is our country and we will decide who rules. We will decide that we ourselves will rule via citizens assemblies. We are not a minority, we are the majority. People will get excited and decide to give up on their boring lives waiting to die and come out on the get and join the party. It will be quite something!
Framing – what we are saying.
BP is making clear that the climate crisis situation is beyond fucked and requires an immediate emergency response – this is not matter for democratic debate or fudging any more than murder or rape is. Making laws in a moral way means that you don’t shit on other people – least of all our kids.
But democracy has a vital role in determining HOW to respond to the catastrophe – what measures are necessary to reduce emissions to zero super quick. And democracy has a vital and ethical role in making decisions on everything that matters to us (in the context of the terrible climate and ecological emergencies that are happening now e.g. transport, inequality, loneliness etc. We have brainy people working on creating citizens assemblies and getting them to work properly (see link – citizens assemblies). Another part of that is having good people in place who can make sure the changes are done right (we need excellent systems of governance – like proper use of experts and an excellent civil service, that are serving everyone not just the few top knobs).
We are like a progressive UKIP – a single issue party but one that opens up the political space to voice the rage and passion of ordinary people.
You could say BP is
- Part affinity group network (doing direct actions)
- Part people’s assembly promoters and organisers – bringing people together to share how shit things are and create visions on how it could be a hell of a lot better world.
- Part anti party political party – we stand in elections but only to get citizens assemblies.
Some key ideas are
We are beyond fucked
The climate fuckery trumps everything. 2C average temperature rise is effectively locked in (that means we know it’s going to happen) and without an immediate complete changing around of the global economy away from “growth” there will mass starvation and all the horrors which go with it (rape and death). The present system is incapable of change and so there needs to be mass political disruption. We are here to organise that. Let’s get on with it. A do with all our rage and all our wit.
Deliberation is the answer to fascism
As we hit ever greater crises and shocks from the climate and the elites running off with our money – people will be drawn by fear and loathing into supporting various forms of nasty governments – fascism and all that. The only alternative is radical deliberative democracy where ordinary people can be in control by seeing people like them actually making decisions – through citizens assemblies where people are selected randomly from the population. And given time to freely talk together to come to well considered and democratically legitimate decisions on “what is to be done” on all the upcoming challenges we face.
Telling the truth rather than messaging
We have to move away from the manipulation and lies of conventional politics which focuses on “what message will create what effect”. Rather for us the key is to enable people to “tell their truth as it appears at that moment”. Authenticity is the only thing that counts, it’s the only thing that builds trust. This means enabling ordinary people to speak in ordinary language. People aren’t going to like hearing it but that is our strength – to tell it as it is. Fearlessness brings down the regime. “The fear has gone”.
We put respect at the centre of what we say. We are all human and none of us are perfect. Respect our opponents (even when we give them a hard time) and respect ourselves. This means respect statements in meetings (see link), not naming and shaming each other, everyone attending an induction training before joining up, and asking people to leave when they are up to no good.
The three ways of saying it as it is.
Rage/Anger – this can include “name and shaming” if there is authentic rage (this is when you are super emotional in a particular moment) – and if it conveys a rage rather than a fixed hatred of someone ( these things are very different) – but this can be combined with humour and self mockery and depreciation e.g. “you fuckers, you fuckers x10” . “Nonviolent communication” is often just a way in which rage gets repressed and it’s hypocritical to say rage is not inside us. Better to have it out in the open and have it done with, as long as it leads to speaking out our truth as well as listening, so that we can understand each other better (see below).
Humour/Ridicule – This is a central part of being British and working class. The world is too mad to take it seriously. It’s good to poke fun at ourselves but also at the opposition. Ridicule is used to promote the idea that the bad guys are not just mad – they are just totally embarrassing, WTF they are soooo bad at their jobs and that sort of thing.
Some ways of doing this are to over exaggerate our criticisms of them, accept their criticisms of us but exaggerate them (“yes we eat babies too”). Have normal jokes/memes in our communication channels even if nothing to do with “politics”. So our culture is not separate from politics (we discuss football).
Love/care – Politics is full of othering (putting down other people) and big egos (who say if you disagree with me you are evil stuff). The thing that makes BP different is that we do not get dragged into all that shit – sure we give as good as we get (with a slider of humour) but we also remember at the end of the day we are one community – one big family of flawed humanity – we were all thrown into the world and we must all die. We all fuck up. We all compromise. And we can all be loving and caring. So, when we meet our opponents we remember to treat them with respect.
A big idea here then is “tough love” – we give people a hard time because they need a kick up the arse but we remember and communicate that we still seek their wellbeing (take care and try to stay in a caring mode).
Some ways of doing this are to over exaggerate our criticisms of them, accept their criticisms of us but exaggerate them (“yes we eat babies too”). Have normal jokes/memes in our mode).
Changing the world is all about emotion and feeling – otherwise we are all damned.
Disruption then dialogue to get things sorted (push and pull)
Using these three frames in succession creates a push-pull process of getting the attention of the bad guys and the public. It confuses them. We say they are fuckers and then we are nice and we should sit down and talk. Disruption (material things or through what we say) then must be followed by creating spaces for dialogue – a standard thing is to ask for public youtube debates where we can argue over 1.5 hours and make human connections with the opponents and the public at the same time. Of course, if we overdo the disruption, we publicly apologise (and then do it again in a more humorous way). Everyone makes mistakes – it’s no big deal. It’s the rough and tumble of politics, right?
All this creates interest and confusion over “what are these guys saying?”. We do not explain ourselves –we are going to bring down the government – “are they for real or not?”
The social contract
At the same time as raging and then messing around, we can talk about serious “we know our stuff” articles, and videos – e.g. we can talk about the ins and outs of citizens assemblies. We also understand about the social contract. Key points of the social contract are:
- The government is supposed to look after us as its first duty, and in return people follow democratically made laws.
- When the government has a plan to have us all die – by allowing carbon to be put into the air – then it has broken its side of the bargain. The contract is broken – or in this case well and truly fucking shattered.
- A government which plans to kill us has one name – a tyranny. It is not just the right, but also the duty (everyone has to do it) to bring it down and bring in a government by the people for the people – as is the case with citizens assemblies. This is not a shopping choice thing. You are not just a free person, you belong to this society and sometimes you have to stand up and revolt. You just have to do it. Otherwise what are you – how can you look at yourself?
- Basically, we are all one society and so we have to look after each other. In an emergency it’s all hands on deck. We are all citizens – everyone who lives in this country, and the government belongs to us not the Eton elites and all that crap.
- We know where we come from, we know who we are and we know where we are going.
Two opponents – the bad guys in government and the bad guys on the Left.
At the start, the biggest problem is going to be with the conventional “left” who may hate any new guys on the block and try to destroy us through hateful criticism or by joining and taking us over. The first thing is to totally expect this to happen and secondly not just “take it”.
These are the sort of people that when you talk about the death of billions of people, they say you are racist because you didn’t put a capital in the word “Asian” – you don’t know whether to laugh or cry!
Drawing on the things above, the plan is to treat these people the same as any other opponent.
- To use humour and ridicule and a good dose of looove to undermine their super serious morality and judgement.
- To “attack” them from the left – they argue about words, we take down the government. They sit in their bedrooms, we sit in the jails.
- To use real action to show how little they actually do to help the oppressed and pushed down communities – while we actually get out and about talking to real people. We are the real deal.
- To question who they actually speak for – it is only themselves. Yep that’s right.
- To have people from marginalised communities come in amongst us and speak for us. Not because it makes us look good but because we know they can say it better than others can.
- To make fun of their desire to stretch their concepts of “justice/anti racism” etc. so they look ridiculous – because they are.
- To have serious debate on practical action and resistance with those in their ranks who are open to real social change rather than just criticise.
- If all this fails, suggest they need to get laid (consensually).
Dealing with the British Public – more tough love
The British public are totally involved in screwing kids (not to mention the global south) and so they need disrupting. Because messing them up is not on and the public need to know it’s not on. Not because we hate them or because we’re arrogant but because it’s true. the government is mad, leading everyone to death, and we all have to work together to take it down. This is a tough love thing – we are all part of a national community – this is what community means – being told you are acting like an arse when you are.
We have a duty to rebel against a government which forces us to be complicit in the death of our kids and the country. To not do so is “embarrassing” – it’s ridiculous.
We bring in the fury of being patronised, deceived, betrayed. We use the big T word TREASON, yes call a spade a spade. This government is making the rich richer, the poor poorer, working to kill us all. If that isn’t treason, then what is?
Upsetting people is necessary!
Do down the liberals; Subvert the police.
The focus of our messaging is on attacking the liberals for the reasons given by ML King
“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
Liberals create a block to radical action by sucking people into trying to change small things, one at a time (reformism), and criticising action that actually works. They always promote the pseudo radical of virtue signalling and victimisation/guilt complex in culture wars, and then patronise the “lower orders” by making out they do not have the time/money to do revolution. Well fuck that!
With the police, the plan is to be smart. Yes, many are racist but racism is structural. It’s found everywhere right up to the top of the hierarchy and in the screwed up nature of our super unequal society. The main point here is the enemy is not the average police person, but the elites who control society and get the police to do their dirty work. Most police spend their time dealing with the shit which is caused by austerity and the loss of social services. This means we should appeal and harass street level police officers at every opportunity and persuade them to defect so that they refuse to police/arrest/jail us. When the police defect the regime falls. Really that is how it happens.
Our leaflets say to police
“stop being a prat, and stop arresting us, and go and arrest that fucker the prime minister”
Last but not least: shit, sex and death
These are the three things people pay attention to so we can use them explicitly and implicitly in all the things we say – exaggerate them and make humour out of them. Use them to undermine and shock the opponent and pull them out of balance. This breaking of taboos causes outrage but secretly many people love it – ordinary people anyway. It’s a Freud thing!
As a sort of ending.
We agree that most of us are decent people who care for others. It’s in our genes to be nice and to cooperate. Humans are pretty awesome.
We agree that the scale of the horror we are facing, and the suffering and anger, not only justifies swearing words but makes these the closest we can get to describing how things are. Many hundreds of thousands of people worldwide already live in horror, and horror is coming toward us too. A bigger horror than anything humanity has ever faced before. But the horror can be reduced.
In order to lessen people’s suffering, we are prepared to go to jail. For the greater good. For the future.
Going to jail is not our aim. We may go to jail with a light or heavy heart, or both (if you stop still and listen, you may find that sensations don’t always stay the same from moment to moment). But we do not go to jail lightly.
Our aim is life. We are ready to take on sacrifice as duty. Extinction is coming up on us slowly, is more and more likely, and when it comes it will be final. Forever. No more humans, nothing. Nada. This might sound simplistic because it is simple. It’s where we’re heading unless we change suddenly, unless we change now. People of BP have come to this point only after checking out everything else most carefully. As if life depends on it.
Climate change and ecological destruction is here and is messy and things will get much, much worse, and then again worse than we thought it ever could be. If you doubt this, speak to a Yemeni citizen, or speak to an Australian.
But we ‘do not go gentle into that good night’. We use non-violence as a way to revolt, a way to transformation. We step out and challenge and change. It is the right thing to do.
For some of us non-violent direct action is a moral and spiritual thing and for others a way to achieve a goal.
Those with power are murdering us. We reckon we can all agree on that by now. In the shorter term those with power are making us miserable, in the longer term they are set to kill us more painfully and slowly. Annihilating life on earth, with us on it, together with millions of species that don’t have a say or a choice. Those with power are rapidly getting rid of all the possible futures in which we could live with dignity.
Burning Pink is made by combination of all our skills, ideas and contradictions. Putting them out there for all to see. Showing the qualities that make us human, make us humane. Because they’re funny and because when we are open, we can see the vanity that moves us, our fears, our wants. Once we can laugh at ourselves, at each other and everyone else, then we can start having a proper good conversation and working together to bring down the government, put the citizens assemblies in place and literally save the world. It sounds romantic, right?
Some of us are gathering up courage and stepping out to do this, for our children, grandchildren, for our families and for our communities. For the love of humanity, for the love of nature, love for life, for animals, for everything. For our sanity, and for ourselves. We may be following a sense of duty, a sense of justice, or destiny. Maybe with a sense of a higher self, or intuition, or whatever it is that makes us think at the speed of light. Maybe because there is nothing else we can do. Or nothing else we want to do.
Or keep business as usual, surrender and die? No fucking way.
Pull your socks up! The Future Is Now.
We do what has to be done.
Whatever it takes.