Over 1200 of you have now signed up for what is set to be our biggest ever protest against BP sponsorship, a mass creative action at the British Museum on 8th February. After 7 years and 39 actions at the museum, we can’t wait any longer: Indonesia is flooded, Australia is on fire and yet BP is investing in more oil and more gas. This sponsorship deal must end. BP Must Fall.
*Sign up to take part in ‘BP Must Fall’ at the British Museum on the 8th February here.*
This is about much more than a single sponsorship deal – it’s about all of our futures. Even now, BP is putting 97% of its capital into fossil fuels with plans to ramp up production by 20% over the next decade, pushing the world deeper into climate crisis. It is undermining the transition we urgently need. BP Must Fall.
The origins of BP, like those of the British Museum, lie in British colonialism, in the theft of objects, artefacts and oil from communities around the world. By displaying BP’s logo, the museum is celebrating a colonial legacy and demonstrating that a colonial attitude continues today. For the British Museum to decarbonise, it must also decolonise. BP Must Fall.
The phrase “BP Must Fall” takes inspiration from the incredible “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign, which is exposing the reality behind British colonialism in Africa and elsewhere, and the “Shell Must Fall” campaign in the Netherlands, which is demanding an alternative to the destructive business practices of Royal Dutch Shell and the fossil fuel industry.
We asked permission from the Rhodes Must Fall campaign to use this phrase. They replied: “As the revolutionary movement, built on three cardinal pillars (Pan Africanism, Black Consciousness & Black Radical Feminism) Rhodes Must Fall supports any initiative that seeks to undermine colonialism and its institutionalized global racism.” Read their statement in full below.
Oil sponsorship is not a “single issue” campaign, and on the 8th February our action must support, and not undermine, other struggles. We must highlight and act on the connections between them. Creativity, imagination and collective action is how we will win: BP will fall and the British Museum will be fossil free.
We ask that everyone who wants to take action with us adheres to the following values. Our creative performance action will:
- put pressure on the Director, Chairman and Board of the British Museum, demanding that they show the climate leadership that staff, visitors and others are demanding;
- be respectful of Museum visitors and staff – many of whom support our campaign – and be responsible around exhibits at all times, taking care as we move around the museum;
- be as inclusive as possible, welcoming all regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, class and disability. We encourage participants to be aware of their own background or privilege, and to challenge oppressive behaviour where it occurs;
- be rooted in solidarity, with an awareness that the intensifying impacts of climate change and fossil fuel extraction disproportionately impact indigenous peoples, people of colour and marginalised communities around the world, who are the least responsible; and
- be a bold and necessary escalation in our campaign, rooted in the principles of non-violence.
We also encourage those attending to read our full Values Statement here.
This is the full response to us from the Rhodes Must Fall campaign:
“As the revolutionary movement, built on three cardinal pillars (Pan Africanism, Black Consciousness & Black Radical Feminism) Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) supports any initiative that seeks to undermine colonialism and its institutionalized global racism.
We stand behind repatriation of Africa’s stolen objects and sacred human remains that were stolen from their graves by white colonial racists who masqueraded as ‘scientists’ and champions of ‘progress’ during the darkest hours of colonialism. We call on the British Museum and other museums in the countries of the Global North to return the mortal remains of our African ancestors, who are still locked in Museological prisons as ‘specimens’ earmarked for race ‘science’.
We demand that these museums publish their collection inventory of African objects and human remains they stole from Africa and other colonies so that we know how many they have and how we can repatriate them back to where they were taken from.”