by Alex Docherty
Different kinds of activism have gone hand in hand with music at the time, the anti-war songs of the late 1960s, the cultural boycott of South Africa in the 1980s. The climate crisis and the activism trying to avert it. Music is already playing a huge role in this effort, even in Glasgow.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change we now have just a decade to prevent a climate catastrophe, when this was originally published in late 2018 a new activist group called Extinction Rebellion sprung into action.
2019 hasn’t just been a year of shutting down roads in major cities, Extinction Rebellion has had many events throughout the year – to raise finds and raise profile.
Back in May, “Raise Our Voice” was a Glasgow fundraising event that was held in The Clutha Bar. The event was headlined by Callum Ingram, alongside John McMustard of Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5. The event raised over £200, which went towards Extinction Rebellion Glasgow getting their own sound system.
In July, Extinction Rebellion shutdown Glasgow Cross as part of their Summer Uprising, similar action took place in London, Cardiff, Leeds and Bristol on the same day. The Glasgow Cross Protest also featured live music – of various genres.
In October the protests were focused in London – but the music was still present. Susie Hotham who performs under the stage name Nyx – is an Extinction Rebellion Activist, a vocalist and a rapper – During Extinction Rebellion’s October Protests in London she was in programming the Music and talks that would take place. Hotham says: “We had very long meetings, like 4 hours every week. How do you go down to London and block off major roads. Then build a whole site, a great guy who’s part of XR and an Architect, did a lot of work doing the planning, designing a site for the most effective forms of protest. I think music is an important part of that, we brought down some good Scottish musicians – to have the cultural element. Cause at the same time your protesting but you’ve got to keep the momentum up, and you need to have a good time at the same time.”
In December, Some Extinction Rebellion Activists in Glasgow took to the Clydeside Amphitheatre to dance in civil disobedience, while others protested at a branch of Barclays on Bothwell Street.
Although 2019 is coming to an end – it is likely that this is still only the beginning for Extinction Rebellion, as the climate disaster is yet to be prevented. Some people believe that the future holds new technology which will have what it takes to prevent climate change from getting out of hand, however Hotham believes we already have what we need. Hotham says: “On a philosophical level, we are at a point where we could redesign our economic systems, we could redesign industry – we have the engineers, we have the architects, we have the designers. We have the ideas, but it’s not changing, thats what makes me the most sad. We could have been changing the world 20 years ago but that hasn’t happened. Thats why you have to fight against the system that is stopping real change from happening. I don’t like people being like, it’s your individual choice to do this, its your individual choice to do that – it’s not about that its about systemic change.”