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Young and green: what is known about the Just Stop Oil movement

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The Just Stop Oil Organization (JSO) is less than a year old and operates in a single country. Nevertheless, her name is already known internationally. Mainstream media coverage of their highly illegal activities whilst negative lacks denunciation or investigation as to how the organisation is funded. Equally interesting, whatever the misdeeds of the activists the cost of which can cost millions and lead to loss of life the JSO protestors are treated by police, courts and media with kid gloves. Why are these culture destroyers The Untouchables? VIDEO

According to experts, despite the almost total condemnation of its actions, even by ideological allies, the organization’s actions may eventually turn out to be successful.

Two activists wearing Just Stop Oil T-shirts stand in front of the painting Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, Netherlands

On February 14, 2022, a harmless-looking young man and woman approached the gate that closes the entrance to London’s Downing Street, the street where the official residences of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of the Treasury of Great Britain are located. According to them, they brought a ‘valentine’ to Boris Johnson. ’Valentine’ was more like an ultimatum. It spoke of love not for the then-prime minister, but for the country. An obscure Just Stop Oil organization was giving the government a month to publicly and solemnly pledge to stop investing in fossil fuels.

Protestors in the Prado stand next to writing that reads “1.5C” on Saturday. STILL FROM TWITTER VIDEO.

Protestors from the Spanish environmental activist group Futuro Vegetal apparently glued themselves on Saturday to Francisco Goya’s painting The Clothed Maja (circa 1800), which hangs in Madrid’s Prado Museum, and wrote “1.5 C” on the wall next to the painting.

Otherwise, the organization promised to resort to ‘direct action’ to ‘prevent the ultimate crime against our country, humanity and life on Earth.’ The Guardian newspaper considered that ‘direct actions’ would be directed against oil infrastructure facilities – gas stations, warehouses, and oil refineries.

The journalists were mistaken, and the lovely young senders of the ‘valentine’ completely lied. For one day, but they lied. The JSO activists staged their first direct action on March 13. The target was not an unattractive warehouse or a dirty gas station, but the building that is rightfully considered the pearl of London, the Royal Albert Hall, which hosted the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award ceremony that day.

Already not two, but three dozen young people tried to break through, if not into the hall, then at least onto the red carpet and appear before the city and the world in sweaters with the red-orange Just Stop Oil inscription. The BAFTA ceremony was covered by the world’s leading media. And soon the whole world was discussing the question of where these strange young people came from and what they really want.

The roots of JSO were found almost immediately. The frontman of the organization was and is 21-year-old Louis McKechnie, who became infamous last year for his participation in the Insulate Britain movement, which demanded that the authorities and the population take measures to save energy and insulate residential buildings and other facilities.

Members of the organization conveyed their demands to the authorities and society by blocking traffic on Britain’s busiest roads. The activities of the activists caused the same dissatisfaction among both the authorities and ordinary citizens. Insulate Britain did not last long – less than two months. Approximately this amount of time was spent on identifying the band members, arresting them, filing charges and sending them to prison.

After his release, Louis McKechnie, having met with journalists, said that the Insulate Britain movement had come to an end, but promised to return with new people and new ideas. And he kept his word. According to British experts, if Insulate Britain attracted mostly enough adults, if not older people, then the Just Stop Oil movement is purely youth. In its ranks, you rarely meet people over 25 years old. Hence the passion for bright and sensational promotions.

After their success at the BAFTAs, the JSO members moved on to other events and venues. They started criminal attacks on gas stations, car dealerships, oil infrastructure facilities all over Britain. They disrupted or attempted to disrupt several football matches and the British Formula One Grand Prix. Media did the cheerleading inasmuch as the activists received far less aggressive coverage than other protest groups. But this spring and summer, JSO participants had a special passion for works of art.

Next time you spray paint thousands of euros damage to a store’s facade tell the authorities you represent Just Stop Oil. It is your Get Out of Gaol option.

Activists have glued themselves to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and John Constable and doused Vincent van Gogh’s tomato soup. True, they did it in a sparing mode for masterpieces.

They hung the picture of Constable with their own variation on the theme of the work of the great English artist, and from the paintings of Van Gogh they chose the one that was covered with protective glass. King Charles III was also lucky: instead of throwing a cake at the monarch, they did a similar operation with his wax copy at Madame Tussauds.

In the summer, experts specializing in the ‘green lobby’ noted the growth of JSO recruiting activities. New centres of the organization were opened, meetings with its famous activists and master classes were held.

Of course, this was largely due to the fact that videos of JSO’s most desperate antics were immediately replicated on social media. But viral videos alone cannot explain the high level of JSO organization. Huge amounts of financial support are needed to so quickly launch and manage an international protest movement like ‘Black Lives Matter’.

The JSO has one major sponsor. This is the American Climate Emergency Fund, a relatively young charitable organization that supports ‘green’ extreme people.

Try this in any country outside the Western Alliance and they would face up to ten years hard labour

According to one of the organizers of the JSO, Miranda Wileyhan, the Climate Emergency Fund donated about a million dollars to the organization and, in addition, helps with the salaries of 40 staff members of the organization. Meanwhile, the name of the fund’s leading sponsor literally screams ‘big oil’. Eileen Getty is the granddaughter of the same Paul Getty who created.

The apparent reliance on petrodollars has led many traditional environmentalists to question the noble intentions of Louis McKechnie and his comrades. In the aftermath of Van Gogh ‘s ‘Sunflowers’ action less than a month ago, some have speculated that the movement is orchestrated by the oil lobby itself solely to discredit climate change fighters.

After all, not only the actions of the JSO activists, but even the thought that came to their mind that tomato soup poured on a picture painted more than 130 years ago can somehow stop the impending environmental catastrophe is not in their favour.

Imagine the screaming headlines, fines and imprisonment if they held up placards saying WHITE LIVES MATTER

However, this conspiracy theory has the usual flaw for such stories a complete lack of evidence. But the arguments against this version are convincing. JSO no longer hides that it literally lives on the money of the Getty heiress. The heiress herself has long and fruitfully worked in the field of combating fossil fuels, calling it her ‘moral duty’. Finally, the JSO activists themselves say that they do not get any pleasure from their actions.

Recalling his now-historic performance at the Everton-Newcastle football match, when he pinned himself to the goal, temporarily interrupting the match, Louis McKechnie says he still remembers the hatred he physically felt on the pitch. When Louis was taken away by the police, he was kicked and spat on. He received so many death threats from the outraged public that he retired from all social media.

The untouchable Left get away with crimes that outside their activities would attract 6 month prison terms

‘I hate doing it. But the only way to make them listen and protect the future of my own generation is to become such a source of irritation to them that it will all seep through the sand in which they have buried their heads. Research pretty much confirms JSO is right.

The backlash against the activists’ actions is deafening. ’Fucking morons! Don’t protest like that!’ – responded to the soup, poured over Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, tennis player and well-known civil rights activist Martina Navratilova. Renowned conservationist Monica Araya was slightly less energetic: ‘Leave art alone. It’s sad to watch!’

The untouchables can allow themselves to be photographed whilst committing criminal damage

Human rights organizations, usually loudly protesting against the actions of the police, completely ignore the rather harsh reaction to the antics of the JSO. And this is despite the fact that in just three weeks of almost daily JSO actions in autumn, according to the organization’s own data, the police made 576 arrests. Its supporters have been arrested a total of almost 2,000 times, but only seven were sent to prison. Try holding up White Lives Matter placards and every activist present would serve prison time. 

Almost all studies show that ‘extremist’ protests do not find support. However, experts disagree about the impact of extreme actions on society. According to Canadian researcher Matthew Feinberg, ‘extremist’ protests reduce public support for movements. And according to Colin Davis, head of the Department of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Bristol, such actions, on the contrary, are rather useful than harmful.

Meet the untouchables whose paltry fines are paid by anonymous benefactors

First, hostility towards ‘extremists’ does not affect the attitude towards the problem itself. Second, having a radical wing seems to increase support for more moderate groups in a particular social movement, and this, given that relatively few people become activists or become seriously involved in the affairs of a social movement, is certainly positive. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, such radical activists and the attention they attract maintain public interest in the problem itself, carrying out a kind of selection of topics for discussion in society. Two favourite examples of supporters of this view are the suffragette movement in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the civil rights movement in the United States. The militant suffragettes were ridiculed at best. The aggressive movement of the Black Panthers in the United States caused hatred.

But both supported the public acceptance of the idea that the problems of electoral equality of the sexes (in Britain) and racial equality (in the USA) needed to be addressed. According to modern researchers, exactly the same role, but in the field of abandoning fossil fuels, is played by the hooligans from Just Stop Oil. 

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