STARTING AN XRA GROUP
A successful national and international rebellion is composed of countless small groups. We encourage anyone interested in Extinction Rebellion America to consider forming a group. Group size can range from a 3-4 people to 40-50 people, but we recommend groups splitting up if they get larger than that in order to maintain intimacy and efficiency.
XRA groups include:
- Rebel Communities with any number of people, formed based on location, common interests, common profession (such as XRA lawyers or teachers), or a particular way of manifesting support for the Rebellion (such as the Red Rebels, or XRA Geeks who might provide tech support).
- Affinity Groups, groups of 8-12 people trained and prepared to form a self-sufficient team while participating in nonviolent civil disobedience actions. These may be standing groups (a Rebel Community), or may form and disband as actions happen. AG’s may be based on friendship, locality, action manifestation (e.g. the Red Rebels), or common interests, professions, or religion. AG’s may also be based on common causes, solutions, or affiliations with other organizations (XR Vegans, XR Permaculture, XR Sierra Club, for example) and these bring great strength to the rebellion, but we ask such groups to refrain from campaigning for their cause in shared XRA spaces (meetings, actions, social events) so we can stay focused on the Four Demands.
- Hubs, or coalitions of various XRA groups from a particular region of the country who collaborate in order to pool resources, achieve critical numbers, and provide moral support to one another.
- Formal Chapters, with a dozen or more people, working groups, regular meetings, and regular NVCD actions.
EXPECTATIONS OF XRA GROUPS
- Should abide by the Seven XRA Commitments. It is critical group members have a shared understanding of their purpose and strategy.
- Aim for shared and accountable power and collaboration. Ideally the group won’t be reliant on one or two “leaders” on a permanent basis. When it gets larger than a few people, the group should appoint an External Coordinator to communicate on behalf of the group with XRA National Support and others, and an Internal Coordinator to be responsible for scheduling meetings, creating and maintaining meeting agendas and minutes, and facilitating internal communications. Ideally, coordinator positions are rotated regularly (such as every six months).
- Follow XRA General Meeting Guidelines, including starting each meeting with the Respect and Purpose statements and rotating facilitator duty.
- Decision Making: When possible, make decisions by consensus, but if unable to reach consensus, the decision can be made (but it is not required to be made) by majority vote at a subsequent meeting. At the same time, it is recommended – to avoid consensus paralysis – that groups function using the “Alliance of the Willing” approach, which means a subset of the group is free to do something as long as it is an accord with XRA’s Seven Commitments, even if not all members of the group approve of the activity. At the same time, group members should listen respectfully to one another’s concerns.
- Should emphasize ACTION: Focus on our twin actions of mobilization (recruitment of new Rebels, growing the movement), and a regular (ideally monthly) schedule of nonviolent direct actions (even if very small). This is an emergency, and XRA Groups are not social clubs or venues for discussing non-disruptive activities like changing consumer habits, promoting legislation, or engaging in social service projects. For more on this, see the XRA Rebel Handbook, page 20 (Our Twin Tasks: Mobilization and Action).
- Community Building and Regenerative Culture: At the same time, XRA Groups should seek to build a sense of community, respect, and warmth within the group, and social activities are strongly recommended (when possible). This fight is tough and we need one another.
Expectations of Individual Rebels Who Want to Form/Join Groups
Participate in a live Heading for Extinction & XRA Overview (90 minutes). If for some reason the scheduled sessions do not work for you, let us know and we might be able to arrange a special session (contact[at]xramerica.org).
Sign the XRA Rebel Pledge.
Consider starting a donation to national XRA. We must become a self-funded movement: Fund the Rebellion.
Participate in the following trainings. If for some reason the scheduled sessions do not work for you, let us know and we might be able to arrange a special session (contact[at]xramerica.org).
- If you want to participate in community organizing (outreach, followup, building Rebel numbers), participate in the New Rebel Bootcamp.
- If you want to participate in Nonviolent Civil Disobedience (NVCD) actions as support or as an arrestable, participate in an NVCD Workshop (3 hours) (Required before a Rebel participates in a NVCD action in any role where they might risk arrest)