Just Stop Oil “Is art worth more than life?”

Just Stop Oil, funded by a Getty, gives the UK establishment a spray

Just Stop Oil protesters have sprayed paint over a luxury car showroom and blocked Park Lane in central London. The campaigners, who are calling for the Government to halt all new oil and gas licences and consents, set up the roadblock from 11am on Sunday.

Climate activist group Just Stop Oil hit the headlines after two of its members threw Heinz tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery.

The painting was behind glass, so it wasn’t damaged.

Activist Phoebe Plummer, 21, said the cost-of-living crisis in Britain was driven by fossil fuels.

“Is art worth more than life? More than food? More than justice?”

“We can’t afford new oil and gas. It’s going to take everything,” she said.

“We will look back and mourn all we have lost unless we act immediately.”

The National Gallery stunt shocked people worldwide and sparked a proposed crackdown on climate activists from the UK parliament.

On Sunday, the group spray-painted Aston Martin’s showroom in London and blocked traffic on one of Mayfair’s busiest streets.

Last week the group spray-painted New Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan police headquarters.

On Monday, protesters scaled to the top of Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, forcing police to close the bridge and causing rush-hour chaos.

Recently, Just Stop Oil said its members were arrested more than 1000 times during a months-long protest campaign in which people blocked oil terminals.

Fossil fuel ban

Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working to change UK policies on fossil fuels.

Just Stop Oil activists say their goal is to “ensure that the government commits to ending all new licences and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK”.

The group says it will use non-violent civil resistance tactics, such as strikes, boycotts and mass protests, to target the UK’s oil and gas infrastructure to force UK policy-makers to meet their demands.

Who funds the group?

On its website the group says it is funded by Los Angeles-based Climate Emergency Fund.

Cash from the fund pays for recruitment, training, capacity building, and education.

Getty Oil heiress Aileen Getty is the co-founder and board member of Climate Emergency Fund.

Getty kickstarted the fund with a foundational grant of $US500,000.

To date, in 2022, Climate Emergency Fund has made $US4 million in grants to climate groups.

Just Stop Oil says it also received donations from members of the public, foundations and groups.

The group accepts donations in cryptocurrency, which some critics have noted has a reputation for having a terrible effect on the environment.

Extinction Rebellion activists

Australia has seen similar protests in recent times.

Last week two Extinction Rebellion activists glued themselves to a Picasso painting in the National Gallery of Victoria, demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels.

On Tuesday activists dressed in black shrouds boarded a tram to protest a major Asia-Pacific fossil fuel conference in Adelaide.

In 2021, Extinction Rebellion members glued themselves to a bridge in Melbourne’s CBD, blocking peak-hour traffic on a major road.

If you don’t like climate activists staging art gallery protests, organise something better

The Guardian
Jeff Sparrow

It’s far better to speak too loud than to remain silent. With the environmental catastrophe accelerating day by day, activism has never been more important

Just Stop Oil protesters throw tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London on 14 October, shouting: 'Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?'
Just Stop Oil protesters throw tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London on 14 October, shouting: ‘Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?’ Photograph: Just Stop Oil/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
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