Activists operating under the banner of “This Is Not A Drill” have begun a direct action campaign against Cambridge-based research facilities with lucrative connections to the fossil fuel industry.
The group’s first actions were reported on July 15, when windows were smashed at a research organisation named the “Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme (CASP)”. Holding charitable status, CASP maps oil and gas reserves in mineral-rich areas of the earth’s crust. Its donors, most of whom happen to be large fossil fuel companies, receive regular confidential reports on their findings, with information only released to the public after a “suitable delay”. In the three weeks following the action, activists also targeted the headquarters of industrial technology firm Aviva, which provides automation software for coal-fired power stations, refineries, and other facilities, the BP Institute, and the chemistry department of the University of Cambridge, a prestigious research centre holding contracts with BP, Shell, and Schlumberger.
This Is Not A Drill, who describe themselves as intersectional climate activists on the radical left, operate as a decentralised network reporting autonomous actions against the many faces of the fossil fuel industry. In stark contrast to the very public and visible activities of groups such as Extinction Rebellion, actions are completely anonymous, with operators of the network having no knowledge of the plans or identity of those acting. Organisers hope this will improve the accessibility and sustainability of direct action, with the inevitability of arrest, high risk of infiltration, and surveillance pressures faced by other groups leading to widespread burnout and the exclusion of marginalised activists. Their only caveat is that actions must not harm either humans or animals, and instead be directed against the infrastructure of climate destruction.
Speaking anonymously with Freedom News, spokespeople from This Is Not A Drill left a message for those looking to get involved:
If you’re scared, worried, or angry about the future under our current governments and system, we’re here with you. Things are bad, but there’s hope and it’s pretty simple to do something: grab a group of trusted friends, learn how to take action safely (we’d encourage people to prioritise digital and in-person security to avoid arrest, but also to know what to do if arrest happens), and go! Apart from causing no harm to people or animals, there are no barriers or conditions – you don’t have to ask us for permission, attend meetings, or have done this before. We’ve set this up to empower you. (…)
We’re currently working on getting some resources together for people who need them, including an action checklist (email to request) and tech security (this will be added to the website).
And to the fossil fuel industry:
Fuck you. You’ve killed so many people and deliberately misled our society into 40 years of climate inaction. In the Global South, Earth protectors are murdered in your name while you condemn their entire countries’ populations to death by climate collapse. Your callous response to oil spills, overwhelming evidence of climate breakdown, and the sharply rising cost of living while you make record profits is disgusting. You’ve shown us that you won’t stop exploiting us and the planet unless you are forced to. You’re the most selfish people on Earth and it would be our honour to fight you alongside those on the frontlines of climate breakdown. A few smashed windows is nothing: as this crisis escalates, so will the resistance.
This Is Not A Drill actions are reported on Instagram, Twitter and their website.
Murray Biagini Kemp