Roger Hallam — the vegan mastermind behind Just Stop Oil

Roger Hallam's comments slammed by Nigel Farage

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Roger Hallam, the mastermind behind Just Stop Oil, is said to have been arrested on Sunday night along with two other activists ahead of a day of planned chaos on the M25. According to multiple reports, the 56-year-old was taken in for questioning after police were tipped-off about the group’s intentions for the stretch of motorway that encircles London. Despite this, parts of the M25 have been forcibly closed down after Just Stop Oil activists successfully forced traffic to a standstill.

But who exactly is Roger Hallam?

Not much is known about Hallam’s personal life. But the Welshman has given various interviews to progressive and environmentally inclined platforms and publications.

He told the Centre for Post-Capitalist Civilisation that he has been involved in “radical politics” since the age of “14 or 15”, and was a part of the peace movement in Europe in the Eighties — a period which saw him arrested.

It was a formative part of his life, as he noted: “I was well aware of civil disobedience as a method of bringing about political change. And then when I was at the London School of Economics, I studied Gandhi and non-violence for a year.”

This was in his twenties. After university, Hallam became involved in workers’ collectives and organic farming.

During this time he was an organic farmer on a 10-acre smallholding near Llandeilo in South Wales.

This patch of land, however, became unworkable, and his business destroyed — something which he blames on a series of extreme weather events.

Speaking to The Independent about this in 2019, he said: “Just over a decade ago there was a series of extreme weather events which destroyed my business and led to 25 people losing their jobs. Climate emergency is not some abstract concept.

“Millions of farmers around the world are under extreme economic pressure due to the climate change catastrophe now unfolding.”

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He left the farm to study civil disobedience at King’s College London, between 2017 and 2019.

While there, in a bid to urge the university away from fossil fuels, he and another person spray-painted the campus’ Strand building with the words, “Divest from oil and gas”, “Now!”, and “Out of time”.

The pair were arrested, and when they spray-painted the university’s Great Hall shortly after, were charged with criminal damage and fined £500. A three-day trial followed, and they were eventually cleared of all charges after defending themselves that their actions were a proportionate response to the climate crisis.

Hallam, in another challenge to the university, went on hunger strike, successfully forcing King’s College to remove £14million worth of investments from fossil fuel companies and pledging to become carbon neutral by 2025.


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Extinction Rebellion

Hallam founded the now famous Extinction Rebellion along with five others in 2018, of which its first major action was to occupy the London offices of Greenpeace.

As far back as 2007, he has been plotting to strike at the very heart of Britain in order to raise awareness for the climate catastrophe.

Back then, he formed Rising Up, a network of activists and academics researching how to engage in mass civil disobedience.

From this, Hallam wrote a paper in 2013, which proposed that “we create a rebellion against the British government on civil resistance principles and that led to the foundation of Extinction Rebellion”.

The group, which staged mass protests in and around London, most notably in the summer of 2019, has since fallen quiet.

As part of the organisation, Hallam has had run-ins with the police on several occasions, including in 2019, when he and four others were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance — the day before a planned action to fly drones around Heathrow Airport and so disrupt flights.

As the years went by, Hallam became disillusioned with the methods of Extinction Rebellion, describing the group as having been “extremely unsuccessful” in building a leadership structure that can “create strategic coherence and inspiration,” noting in early 2021 that, “I think once we come out of the pandemic, then the movement will probably diverge.

“Part of it will return to the traditional denial of the old model environmentalist movement. And other people will move forward to a civil resistance social model. My prediction is that the latter will thrive and the former will discontinue, because they’re historically irrelevant, because of the structural determinants of a system.”

Just Stop Oil

His prediction came true, and with it Just Stop Oil was born.

Hallam launched the group in February 2022 as a mean of direct civil disobedience, causing as much disruption as possible via non-violent means.

This has largely taken the form of shutting down public roads at crucial junctions and intersections, often stirring the ire of the public and subsequent tense confrontations.

More recently, and something that has sparked a trend around the world, is the throwing of paint, foodstuffs or any sort of non-staining liquid on famous works of art in museums and galleries.

Protestors have also been seen tying themselves to things like goal and rugby posts during matches, glueing themselves to government buildings, and climbing on top of bridges in order to shut them down.

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