Wretched of the Earth

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Wretched of the Earth
Formation2015; 5 years ago (2015)
Founded atUnited Kingdom
PurposeClimate change mitigation
Migrant Justice

Wretched of the Earth is an activist coalition[1] based in the United Kingdom,[2] representing the interests of the Global South and people of color in response to climate change.[3] They seek to challenge environmental organizations by asking groups like Extinction Rebellion to think critically about class, capitalism, and use of activist tactics that draw risk to people of color.[4][5]

Activist Work

The organization's demands include universal health care, the right to free education, corporate accountability, and demilitarization.[6] Coalition members include Black Lives Matter UK, Migrants Rights Network, Peoples Climate Network, Algeria Solidarity Campaign, Argentina Solidarity Campaign, Black Dissidents, Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Environmental Justice North Africa, Global Afrikan People’s Parliament, Global Justice Forum, Indigenous Environmental Network, Kilombo U.K, London Mexico Solidarity, Movimiento Ecuador Reino Unido (MERU), Movimiento Jaguar Despierto, PARCOE, The London Latinxs, South Asia Solidarity Group, Science for the People, and This Changes Everything UK.[7][8][9]

In 2015, Wretched of the Earth was removed from its previously designated position at the front of London's People’s Climate March of Justice and Jobs[10] by organizers of the event[9] March organizers saw the group's focus on anti-imperialism as too political.[11] The group responded with an open letter to the march's organizers, highlighting the repetition of colonialism in suppressing indigenous and people of color voices.[7]

Wretched of the Earth issued an open letter in May 2019[8] asking Extinction Rebellion to reconsider strategies that would be harmful to black, brown, and indigenous activists and to rethink the way its activist tactics build on white privilege.[12][4][13] This open letter posits that efforts to combat climate change will be meaningless unless they include and build on the experiences of people of color.[14] Taking a decolonial perspective on climate justice[15], the organization states that environmental issues described as a current climate crises date back to 1492, when European settlers landed in the Americas.[6]

The collective took part in a September 2019 march as part of the Global Climate Strike, calling for use of indigenous knowledge and experience in fighting climate change, and making a case for aligning the migrant justice movement with the climate justice movement.[16]


  1. ^ "Are Extinction Rebellion whitewashing climate justice?". gal-dem. 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  2. ^ Thanki, Tatiana Garavito,Nathan (2019-09-18). "Stop Asking People of Color to Get Arrested to Protest Climate Change". Vice. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  3. ^ Braithwaite, Phoebe. "Art's Ecological Turn and the Sixth Great Extinction". Frieze. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  4. ^ a b Lewis, Aimee (2019-11-25). "Extinction Rebellion has race problem, critics say". KXLY. CNN. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  5. ^ Madden, David (2019-05-04). "Editorial: City of emergency". City. 23 (3): 281–284. doi:10.1080/13604813.2019.1648734. ISSN 1360-4813.
  6. ^ a b Demos, T.J. "Climate Control: From Emergency to Emergence - Journal #104 November 2019 - e-flux". Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  7. ^ a b "Open Letter from the Wretched of the Earth bloc to the organisers of the People's Climate March of Justice and Jobs | Reclaim the Power". Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  8. ^ a b "An open letter to Extinction Rebellion". Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  9. ^ a b Arthur, Katie (Katie Louise) (2017). Frontlines of crisis, forefront of change : climate justice as an intervention into (neo)colonial climate action narratives and practices (Thesis thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/111292.
  10. ^ "Darkening the White Heart of the Climate Movement". New Internationalist. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  11. ^ Johnson, Azeezat, editor. Joseph-Salisbury, Remi, editor. Kamunge, Beth, editor. (2018-11-15). The fire now : anti-racist scholarship in times of explicit racial violence. ISBN 978-1-78699-381-6. OCLC 1056109558.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Gayle, Damien (2019-10-04). "Does Extinction Rebellion have a race problem?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  13. ^ "Critics call out Extinction Rebellion's race problem". Grist. 2019-10-12. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  14. ^ Brown, Alleen (2019-10-12). "Can Extinction Rebellion Build a U.S. Climate Movement Big Enough to Save the Earth?". The Intercept. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  15. ^ "Climate justice and extinction". Global Justice Now. 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  16. ^ Rikki (2019-09-30). "The Wretched Of The Earth Collective - speech at Global Climate Strike". Real Media - The News You Don't See. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
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