Rai, Milan

Rai, Milan

Milan Rai

2 August 2022Comment

Johnson was an international criminal, not just a liar, argues Milan Rai

All year, it has been infuriating to watch the debate about Boris Johnson as pressure built up against the British prime minister until he was finally forced from office on 7 July by his own party – which believed he would damage its chances of winning the next election.

Johnson was sacked by the Conservatives for his personal weaknesses, such as dishonesty and irresponsibility. This was what the media also focused on. Near the liberal extreme, the Guardian editorial on his…

2 August 2022Comment

Milan Rai remembers a campaigner who was 'human decency turned into a human being'

There are activists who are respected or admired, and there are activists who are loved. Bruce was loved, he was beloved.

Bruce Kent was human decency turned into a human being.

For people of my generation, who came of age in the 1980s, Bruce was a beacon of sanity in a terrifying world. He was the voice of the peace movement: direct, honest and completely fearless.

He has continued to be that beacon of sanity and common sense.

Pat Gaffney, one of Bruce’s close…

1 August 2022News

How Johnson and Truss have helped to undermine diplomacy and prolong the war in Ukraine

As Noam Chomsky has repeatedly pointed out since February: ‘our prime concern should be to think through carefully what we can do to bring the criminal Russian invasion to a quick end and to save the Ukrainian victims from more horrors’ (PN 2660).

This must mean an immediate ceasefire and a quick peace agreement along the lines nearly agreed at the end of March.

The reality is that this brutal and dangerous war will end in one of three ways: the two sides will…

1 August 2022News

RMT leader calls for general strike if new PM pursues anti-union plans

There should be a general strike if Tory MP Liz Truss becomes prime minister on 5 September and pursues the harsh anti-union policies she has announced recently.

That’s the view of Mick Lynch, secretary general of the RMT rail union, who says: ‘Truss is proposing to make effective trade unionism illegal in Britain and to rob working people of a key democratic right. If these proposals become law, there will be the biggest resistance mounted by the entire trade union movement,…

1 August 2022Feature

At least a fifth of the UK population has always been unilateralist

Of the many causes that Bruce Kent fought for, the one he is most identified with is unilateral nuclear disarmament. Bruce was general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) from 1980 to 1985, and CND chair from 1987 to 1990. CND’s core demand is for unilateral nuclear disarmament – for the UK government to dismantle all its nuclear weapons immediately, whether or not other countries also disarm.

Opinion polls that I’ve found suggest that, throughout the nuclear era,…

1 August 2022Feature

Our campaign to Ban Nuclear Threats continues...

If you’re a Western disarmament group, and you choose not to mention or engage with the long history of Western nuclear threats against non-nuclear weapon states, I think that’s a problem, morally, politically and in terms of strategy – but it’s kind of business as usual.

If you’re a Western disarmament group, and you choose to engage with the threatened use of nuclear weapons in international crisis situations, but you choose to talk only about nuclear threats issued by enemies of…

20 June 2022Blog

In this online telling of the tale, over twice as long as the article we printed in PN 2660, we hear from the activists behind the landmark legal ruling that deliberately obstructive protest can be legal.

Two slogan-covered boxes are bundled out of a van in East London. People lie down on the road next to the boxes.

Within seconds, the police are there.

So are the activists’ support team and other protesters.

DSEI, one of the biggest arms fairs in the world, is being set up in the nearby ExCeL Centre.

Within minutes, the four people lying in the road – Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Jo Frew and Nora Ziegler – have been arrested.

*

This small action,…

1 June 2022Comment

Recent events confirm that peace activism is the real counter-terrorism, argues Milan Rai

This may be a little difficult to believe. In the latest terror trial in the UK, the defendant put forward the kind of legal argument that we often see in peace movement nonviolent direct action cases: he was trying to prevent a greater crime... with his crime.

Since the 7/7 atrocities in London on 7 July 2005, there has been a string of terror attacks in the UK inspired by al-Qa’eda and/or Islamic State.

These attacks tend to have three features in common that aren’t often…

1 June 2022News

The British government must support Ukrainian neutrality

The outlines for a peace deal in Ukraine have been clear for weeks, as US activist and author Noam Chomsky points out in this issue (see pp 11 – 13).

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine made a solid peace proposal at the end of March which could be built upon.

It is not enough simply to appeal for a ceasefire. Western peace movements should be pressing their governments to actively voice their support for peace negotiations.

Ukraine specialist Anatol Lieven wrote on…

1 June 2022Feature

We hear from the activists behind the landmark legal ruling that deliberately obstructive protest can be legal

Two slogan-covered boxes are bundled out of a van. People lie down on the road next to the boxes. Within seconds, the police are there. So are other campaigners protesting against the DSEI arms fair, which is being set up in the nearby ExCeL Centre. Within minutes, the four people lying in the road – Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Jo Frew and Nora Ziegler – have been arrested.

This small action, which took place on 5 September 2017, led directly to a ground-breaking legal judgement…

1 June 2022Review

Verso, 2022; 448pp; £25

This is not so much a biography as one well-informed radical’s readable take on modern world history (with a lot of attention paid to the Russian Revolution – Trotsky is quoted frequently). The figure of Winston Churchill is mostly just a hook Tariq Ali uses to hang some eye-opening stories on.

If you want a thorough, sceptical, myth-busting account of the life of Winston Churchill, search out Clive Ponting’s 876-page Churchill (out of print).

Ponting’s attention to…

1 June 2022Feature

PN's editor responds to Janet Fenton's piece in this issue

I should start by saying that I have enormous respect for Janet Fenton as a person and as an activist. Also, I think the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is an astonishing and hugely valuable achievement, and the ICAN coalition completely deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in bringing the treaty about.

However... after reading Janet’s arguments…

1 April 2022News

Punishment sanctions actually reduce Russia’s incentive to end its war, argues Milan Rai

When Britain invaded Egypt in 1956 (in alliance with Israel and France), the US threatened to block attempts by Britain to borrow $561 million from the IMF and to get a $600m credit extension from the US Export-Import Bank. The US also threatened to sell its sterling bonds (tradeable IOUs issued in British pounds), which would have had a catastrophic effect.

These ‘financial warfare strikes’, and other pressures, forced Britain, within weeks, into a humiliating withdrawal.

If…

1 April 2022News

We need to work for peace in Ukraine – and  recognise our greater moral responsibility for peace in Yemen

Noam Chomsky once wrote that some things were almost painful to have to say, they were so obvious. One example is that we have more responsibility for things that we can affect than for things that we have little or no influence over.

In Britain, we can help relieve the suffering of Ukrainians, but we have little influence over the Russian state which is raining destruction on Ukraine.

Whatever influence we have, we should try to use. Bruce Kent gave us a fine example of that…

1 April 2022Comment

It's past time to ban the use of nuclear threats, argues Milan Rai

29 March: Over the last month, the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine has cost tens of thousands of lives, forced millions of Ukrainians to become refugees – and created a world crisis. As we go to press, there are reports that there may be a ceasefire soon.

That seems unlikely until after Russia has captured Mariupol. The besieged and much-battered coastal city is the key to the land corridor linking Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, and parts of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian…