Randle, Michael

Randle, Michael

Michael Randle

28 September 2020Comment

What can Extinction Rebellion learn from the experience of the Committee of 100?

The spectacle of thousands of predominantly young people taking to streets in nonviolent protest against the threat of climate catastrophe is reminiscent of the mass demonstrations and sit-downs of the anti-nuclear Committee of 100 in the 1960s.

Like Extinction Rebellion (XR), the Committee – as indeed the broader anti-nuclear movement – was a response to an existential threat to civilisation, possibly even to human survival.

Like XR, the Committee was committed to using mass…

1 October 2018Comment

Renowned peace campaigner who ran for President loved cats and relished controversy

David McReynolds, who died on 17 August in New York at the age of 88, played a leading role in the US and international peace movements. He was one of the main organisers of the US anti-Vietnam war mobilisation, which not only contributed to the ending of that war but had a profound impact on US politics and society.

David was also involved in the civil rights and anti-nuclear movements and, though not a gay rights campaigner, he declared himself a homosexual at a time when this…

10 September 2018Blog

This is the longer version of an obituary of the prominent US radical pacifist.

David McReynolds, who died in New York at the age of 88 on 17 August, played a leading role in the US and international peace movement. He was one of the main organisers of the anti-Vietnam war mobilisation in the US, which not only contributed to the ending of that war but had a profound impact on US politics and society. He was also prominent in the anti-nuclear campaign both in the US and internationally, and, though not a gay…

1 February 2017Review

Hawthorn Press, 2016; 256pp; £30

This book comprises mainly extracts, selected by the two authors, from the writings of Adam Curle, the first professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. The authors also provide introductions and commentaries, including a succinct biography, and assess Adam’s contribution to the field.

They are well-placed to do so. Tom Woodhouse was part of the School of Peace Studies from its inception in 1973, founded the Centre for Conflict Resolution there in 1990, and held the Adam…

26 October 2015Blog

A tribute to Peace News's ground-breaking drama critic 

Albert Hunt, critic, playwright and educator, and former staff member and drama critic of Peace News, was part of the wave of innovators that transformed the British theatrical scene in the 1960s and 1970s and pioneered an approach to adult education based on the active participation of students in games and creative improvisation.

Born in Burnley in 1928 to a working-class Pentecostal family, with a radical pacifist…

1 October 2015Review

Pluto Press, 2015, 211pp, £15

This analysis of Palestinian popular – civil – resistance to the creation and expansion of Israel and its nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory, is essential reading for anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of civil resistance in an occupied country, and the factors making for its success or failure.

“The First Intifada encompassed a range of nonviolent tactics with the strategic aim of regenerating the resistance, increasing the cost to Israel of…

31 March 2015Feature

Michael Randle explores an important Bradford-based cultural resource

Commonweal is a free library which specialises in works on peace and radical politics. Its aim since inception has been to provide a service for activists and academics alike. It has been housed since 1976 within the main JB Priestley Library at Bradford University, West Yorkshire. It has had strong links from its early days with Peace News.

The library had its origins in the private collection of books, journals and pamphlets of David Hoggett, whose life in many ways…

19 December 2013Comment

Our dear friend and comrade Howard Clark was a mainstay of Peace News since the 1970s and of War Resisters' International (WRI) since the 1980s.

Howard's sudden death has left us shocked and bereaved, and with an irrational sense of outrage that he has left us so unexpectedly. He was only 63 and in the middle of helping organise next summer’s WRI conference in South Africa. He leaves a gap which others must strive to fill. It will be difficult, and the following overview and appreciation of his life as a peace activist, organiser and researcher will give some indication of the scale of the challenge.

But before reviewing his…

2 July 2012Review

Columbia University Press, 2011; 296pp; £20.50

This study charts the success and failure of over 300 nonviolent and violent campaigns – aimed principally at regime change, self-determination/anti-occupation, or secession – between 1900 and 2006.

Overall during this period nonviolent campaigns proved twice as likely to achieve full or partial success as those that resorted to armed insurgency. This was the case regardless of the nature of the regime and its readiness to resort to repression. Moreover, whereas nonviolent campaigns…

27 April 2012Comment

Michael Randle on the playwright and Peace News supporter John Arden who died aged 82 last month. 

John Arden at an 80th birthday tribute in 2010.

John Arden, who died on 28 March at the age of 81, was one of that generation of dramatists, novelists, film-makers and critics who transformed cultural life in Britain in the late 1950s and 1960s. They included, among others, fellow dramatists John Osborne, Shelagh Delaney, Harold Pinter, Arnold Wesker and Brendan Behan; the theatre directors Joan Littlewood and William Gaskill; poets such as Christopher Logue…

31 March 2012Review

Routledge, 2011; 207pp; £23.99

This is an important new book on a topic that could hardly have greater political relevance or urgency.

Its author, April Carter, comes from a background of nonviolent activism and has established herself as a leading academic specialist in this field and in the broader arena of political philosophy. She examines ‘people power’ with dispassionate thoroughness, taking account of the conceptual ambiguities in the term itself and theoretical and practical issues related to its…

1 October 2011Comment

Life-long activist and "guerilla anarchist" who helped expose plans for a paramilitary coup and stood trial for "incitement to disaffect" British troops in Northern Ireland.

John Hyatt, a member of the Peace News staff collective 1973-75 gave us the slogan “Don't Vote – it only encourages them”.

I first met him as a young man representing the Youth Section of the Peace Pledge Union at the WRI Council meeting in Vienna in August 1968.

Nearby Czechoslovakia was experiencing what turned out to be the last days of the Prague Spring. On the last day of the council meeting a WRI delegation, which I think included John, travelled to Bratislava at the…

1 September 2011Comment

Historian, novelist, anti-war activist and author of "The Making of a Counter Culture".

Theodore Roszack, historian, novelist, social critic and anti-war activist, was born in Chicago and had an academic career at universities across America.

Of 1964, Roszack wrote: “For those who were part of it, the American peace scene for the years 1963-64, during that paralytic lull following the partial test-ban treaty and preceding the recent, turbulent rise of the ‘New Left’, was rapidly suffocating in pessimism and dismal introspection”. In the summer of ’64 he became editor of…

1 November 2009Feature

Michael Randle assesses civil resistance and its role in creating social change.

Two new books have appeared that are essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how collective nonviolent action – civil resistance – can operate at a strategic level to further social and political emancipation.

The contributions in Howard Clark’s collection, People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity, look at the varied forms transnational solidarity can take – and the pitfalls it has to avoid.

In Civil Resistance and Power Politics: the…

1 October 2008Review

Nation Books, 2008; ISBN 978-1-56025-802-5; pp488; £9.99

This book is a must for anyone interested in deepening his or her understanding of civil (nonviolent) resistance both in general and in the particular context of the first Palestinian Intifada.

That Intifada – literally “shaking off” – began in response to the death in December 1987 of four Palestinians at an Israeli checkpoint. However, as Mary King shows in this meticulously researched study, the groundwork was laid by the development of civil society organisations, including…