3 March 2007Comment

In equal measures: hope and despair

This March marks the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the start of the long-term military and economic occupation.

Tens of thousands of civilians and more than 3,000 coalition soldiers have been killed; thousands more have been horrifically wounded. Over the past four years people have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their families and their minds. Iraqi society is in ruins and the occupiers' political stability is on a…

1 October 2006Review

Anti 2006; 66mins; CD format/ download

Despite weak reviews in the mainstream left press, I really wanted to like this album.

Having nominally followed Franti's musical career since his early work with the Beatnigs in the late 80s, through Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy in the early 90s, and later into Spearhead, I feel like I have witnessed a decline in musical passion over the years. Perhaps age, fatherhood and a penchant for weed have mellowed him a little too much. However, Spearhead's numerous albums have spanned an…

3 September 2006Comment

At the end of August, 19-year-old Private Jason Chelsea killed himself. It was widely reported that he took his own life because he could not cope with the possibility of killing children during his, then imminent, deployment to Iraq.

Motivations for suicide are usually quite complex. However, realising you don't want to shoot children - but may be expected to - could certainly become a powerful dynamic in an already vulnerable mind.

Lies and brutalisation

Despite much being…

1 September 2006Review

Five Uncivilised Tribes 2006; 57mins; available to download from http://www.7digital. com/; price £7.99. CD format ordered at http://www.hmv.co.uk/

Formed in 1991, Fun Da Mental have been producing urgent - sometimes frenetic - music, constantly crossing styles and boundaries.

All is War is the band's fifth studio album and continues in a similar musical vein as previous endeavours, mixing up intense and driving electronic beats with traditional tabla, strings and vocal styles, socially conscious rap and an emphasis on race and religion. It was recorded in London, Pakistan and South Africa. I have two earlier albums (…

3 July 2006Comment

Did the perpetrators who kidnapped Israeli Defence Force soldier Cpl Gilad Shalit anticipate the collective punishment that would be meted out to Palestinians? Perhaps they hoped it would provoke a greater uprising, or that their (changing) demands would actually be met. Or perhaps the consequences were in fact unseen.

It has been argued that the kidnapping was in reprisal for the assassination of Hamas government official Jamal Abu Samhadana; whatever, the fact is that the Israeli…

1 July 2006Feature

If you live in this part of Essex, the “traveller burden”-- as it has been unceremoniously called- is a hot topic. With one of the highest densities of Irish and Gypsy Traveller sites in the country ,some local residents, the local council and MP, and the far right, appear keen to see these communities vanish from their collective radars.

Of course, it would be a crazy ,liberal, rose-tinted view to ignore the fact that, like with all communities, things are not perfect with the…

1 July 2006News

Just a few days after hosting the Peace News 70th birthday party, central London's The Square social centre had effectively come to an end.

The Russell Square property had been occupied for five months and been used by a broad range of groups to hold events from benefit gigs and free parties, to serious workshops and organising meetings.

Occupiers had been notified that they could be evicted from 23 June. In response to news of the impending eviction, a two-day festival of…

1 July 2006Review

AK Press 2002; ISBN 1 902593 48 0; 493pp; £15

Ever felt so righteously outraged at the state of the world, the greed of the corporations, humanity's insane militarism, the fact that we are killing the planet (etc) that you considered blowing shit up? Well, that's what Ann Hansen found herself doing across Canada in the early 1980s.

Damaging nuclear weapons components manufacturers, porn chains and electricity substations, carrying out burglaries and car thefts (they needed explosives, guns and getaway vehicles for their actions…

1 June 2006News

As reported in last month's PN, `twas the season for AGM-related protests. Here's a quick roundup of protest at three of the worst companies' annual junkets:

BAE Systems

Albert Beale writes... The AGM of Britain's biggest purveyor of armaments - BAE Systems - was as usual a target for anti-arms trade activists, both inside and outside the meeting on 4 May.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade's street theatre outside, showing members of the government as poodles…