Cullinan, Henrietta

Henrietta Cullinan
1 April 2022Review

Goldsmith Press, 2020; 432pp; £32

Having volunteered with a small religious group supporting homeless refugees in Calais and London, I resonated strongly with this book. In particular, it helped me to see, in hindsight, our contribution as part of an extraordinary international mobilisation of volunteers endeavouring to provide refugees and migrants with on-the-ground help.

The book is divided geographically into ‘flashpoints’; places where refugees and migrants gathered to cross borders or found their journey across…

1 February 2022Feature

Some other acquitted activists respond to the historic Colston Four verdict

To mark the Colston Four acquittal, we asked some other campaigners who’d been found ‘not guilty’ in protest cases for their reactions. We’ve put them in chronological order of their earliest not-on-technical-grounds acquittal (some of them have multiple court victories).

Chris Cole:

I was delighted to see the acquittal of the Colston Four for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it kept an evidently lovely bunch of people out of jail.

Secondly, it led to a whole raft of MPs…

1 February 2022Review

Hamish Hamilton, 2021; 208pp; £14.99

Recently, Love Island star Molly Mae was forced to apologise after promoting her pet theory that ‘everyone has the same 24 hours in a day’ and so can achieve their goals. Her inept blindness to inequality and poverty is a good popular example of the topic of this book: Zakaria defines white feminism as those parts of feminism that claim to speak for all women, but which neglect to acknowledge the racially privileged positions that its proponents both assume and occupy.

1 December 2021Review

Rowman & Littlefield, 2021; 438pp; £29

With this book, Ray Acheson guides us through the collaborative processes that brought about the 2016 UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the first legally-binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons. Acheson is director of Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Drawing on their own observations and feminist analysis, Acheson recounts how the parties…

1 October 2021Review

Luath Press, 2021; 224pp; £12.99

For me, the most interesting chapter in Activism for Life was ‘Answering questions from a young activist’, in which Angie Zelter reflects on what makes for effective action and on her support for the direct action tactics used by current movements.

Most of the book, though, is storytelling along with an archive collection. Zelter covers 50 years of nonviolent direct action campaigns – from Greenham Common to the founding of XR Peace.

As she recounts her own experiences…

1 August 2021Review

Pluto Press, 2021; 160pp; £9.99

In this book, Leah Cowan dares the reader to imagine a country without borders , encouraging us to take off our ‘capitalist-tinted glasses’ in order to understand migration. She also recommends that we use her book as a companion to understanding the stories told by migrants themselves.

Challenging the view of migrants as ‘outsiders’, she recounts some of the history of British colonial expansion and resource extraction which has left many countries impoverished and economically…

20 July 2021Review

Verso, 2020; 224pp; £14.99

The author, a well known philosopher and gender theorist, seeks to secure the often ‘disputed’ terms violence and nonviolence through a project that explores texts from psychoanalysis, sociology and philosophy. In the quest for a definition, Butler starts with the philosophical fantasy of premodern man in a state of nature, in perpetual, selfish conflict with his neighbours. This man arrives on the scene as a fully formed adult, excluding women, children, the elderly or sick from discussions…

4 July 2021Review

PM Press, 2020; 288pp; £17.99

This book offers an unusual perspective on the Catholic Left, focusing on groups that formed to protest against the US draft during the Vietnam War. 

Famous examples such as the Baltimore Four and the Catonsville Nine, who destroyed thousands of draft cards, inspired dozens more, including Ted Glick’s own group, ‘The East Coast Conspiracy to Save Lives’. In this highly thoughtful and self-critical account, Glick tells the story of how his participation in a series of actions, and the…

4 July 2021Feature

An interview with two founder members of Palestine Action

Recently, Henrietta Cullinan sat down with Richard Barnard (RB), 47, and Huda Ammori (HA), 26, who helped start a new direct action campaign last year. Palestine Action focuses on Elbit Systems, an Israeli military drone manufacturer with UK factories.

PN: Tell us about the founding of Palestine Action. 

HA: Last summer, a few of us who had already done one-off direct actions against Elbit Systems – maybe once a year we would have a blockade – realised that, to be…

11 December 2020Review

Simon and Schuster, 2020; 436pp; $30

Pope Francis, in his 2015 address to the US congress, listed Dorothy Day alongside Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Day founded the Catholic Worker in 1930s New York with a weekly newspaper and a shelter for destitute men and women. The movement continues to this day as a collection of over 200 communities, mostly in the US, who live a simple lifestyle in community, serve the poor, and resist war and social injustice. As someone deeply involved in the Catholic Worker movement…

11 December 2020Review

Verso, 2019; 272pp; £12.99

The UK immigration debate, an important issue in the Brexit referendum and recent elections, has distinctly altered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public opinion now realises the huge debt owed to migrant workers keeping us safe, from doctors to bus drivers and shop assistants. In one recent poll, 62 percent of people supported offering automatic British citizenship to care workers and roughly half supported the same offer for supermarket workers, agricultural workers and delivery drivers.…

8 December 2020Review

Housesparrow Press, 2019; 156pp; £12. https://www.housesparrowpress.com

Over a third of women in the world suffer physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives, writes one of the contributors to this book.

For some, the resulting trauma leads to homelessness. While society reaches for easy narratives of deprivation and suffering, of the deserving and undeserving poor, the many circumstances that might lead a woman to homelessness are often ignored. These complex – often contradictory – attitudes are the subject of this book.

Firstly, this…

1 December 2019Review

Democratic Thought, 2019; 528pp; £10

In this substantial collection of essays and poems, Daniel Jakopovich proposes a personal philosophy of peace, developed through years of education and intellectual enquiry. It is the work of a courageous writer who consistently asks the awkward questions of peacemaking and pursues them without fear.

The essential ingredients, drawn from sociology, history, and the work of peacemaking men and women, are progressively revealed, as the book explores periods of change in countries…

1 October 2019Review

Verso, 2019; 96pp; £7.99

This pocket-sized book, in matt rainbow covers, presents itself as a desirable object to read, Instagram and pass on. It also fulfils the serious promise of its subtitle, ‘a manifesto’, as it makes feminism generally applicable and available – and addresses the crisis of capitalism as a feminist issue.

It opens by contrasting two demands. The chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, has called for women to ‘lean in’ – to project confidence and seize opportunities in…

1 August 2019Review

Polity Press, 2018; 240pp; £15.99

In this challenging analysis, Dave Wearing examines Britain’s relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Oman – in the context of modern international capitalism.

From the outset, Wearing dismisses the familiar discourse of ‘British values’, which presents our liberal democracy as being in natural opposition to an authoritarian Middle East, warning that this obscures the far weightier ‘common cause’ held…