Rai, Milan

Rai, Milan

Milan Rai

1 February 2024News

US/UK airstrikes on Houthis could condemn Yemen to famine and endless war

The US and Britain are, at the time of writing, at war with the Ansar Allah movement that controls over two-thirds of the population of Yemen and a third of its territory. This war is not an act of ‘self-defence’, it is doomed to failure, it is wrecking the fragile and desperately-needed Yemeni peace process, and it is actually strengthening Ansar Allah, known as ‘the Houthis’ after their first leader.

British forces took part in US-led airstrikes and missile attacks on Ansar Allah on…

1 February 2024News

World Court’s legally-binding order to Israel is a historic first, but still has flaws

Three Palestinian human rights groups issued a joint statement on 26 January welcoming the World Court’s decision to consider whether Israel’s war in Gaza is genocidal, and to order Israel to stop killing Palestinians in Gaza, among other measures.

Al-Haq (based in Ramallah, in the West Bank) and Al Mezan and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (both based in Gaza City, Gaza) described the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ, also known as ‘the World Court’) as ‘a…

1 February 2024Feature

Russia 'ready to make a deal', reports New York Times

As we head towards the second anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the question of peace negotiations is becoming more pressing, especially with the possibility that Donald Trump may be re-elected president in November. Trump opposes US aid to Ukraine.

If it looks likely that Trump is going to win, Ukraine may be tempted to go for a high-risk, high-speed military push while it still has US backing – or it may finally open the door for a negotiated solution before…

1 February 2024Comment

In the run-up to this year's general election, the UK peace movement must challenge the deep-seated militarism of the entire British political class

Noam Chomsky once wrote that activists had two options in relation to changing government policies (in the US): ‘One way is to try to influence the choice that will be offered by the two major political parties and to exercise this choice on Election Day. Another, very different approach is to try to modify the objective conditions that any elected official must consider when he [or she] selects a course of action.’

You can either work within the system, trying to persuade a party to…

1 December 2023Feature

Milan Rai dismantles one of the most powerful lies about the current crisis in Gaza

On 10 November, former Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman expressed her concerns about the ‘Ceasefire Now’ marchers due to demonstrate in London the following day. Freeman told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘First of all, I would ask them, you know, what they think is going to happen if there’s a ceasefire?

‘Hamas has said that they will not stop until Israel is annihilated. And the fact is there are still 200…

1 December 2023Feature

Why ‘humanitarian pauses’ are not enough  

On 31 October, Keir Starmer explained why he opposed calls for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza, in the same terms as the US and British governments. The Labour leader said: ‘that would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capability to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October the 7th.... Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately.’

Therefore, Starmer argued, the right position was to ‘stand by the right to self-defence of any nation…

1 December 2023Comment

Our long-standing news editor hangs up his (PN) keyboard

Our long-serving and long-suffering news editor, David Polden, has decided to hang up his PN keyboard. He’s been writing news items for PN regularly since 2007!

David, thank you so much for your dedication and your hard work over the years. You have contributed so much to the paper, with your keen sense of what was happening around the peace movement.

David will continue to produce the CND Non-Violent Resistance Network (NRVN) newsletter.

1 December 2023Comment

Expulsions are not the answer, argues Milan Rai

Radicals excluding radicals because they have the ‘wrong’ ideas on trans rights is nothing new.

I was surprised, however – surprised, saddened and shocked – when I learned at the Anarchist Bookfair in London that the organisers of the bookfair had excluded a group not because it had the wrong ideas about trans rights, but because it had not expelled members who had expressed the ‘wrong’ ideas about trans rights in an internal discussion. (See p5 for the story.)

I don’t see how…

1 December 2023Comment

Don't let the US and Britain wreck the Yemeni-Saudi peace process

The world’s attention is fastened on Gaza at the moment. This issue of PN is almost completely taken up with Palestine.

At the same time, there is an important opportunity right now for British peace activists to help bring an end to another devastating war, and another horrifying humanitarian catastrophe.

As I write, the internationally-recognised Yemeni government has just called on the US, Britain and other Western governments to designate the Yemeni rebel movement…

1 December 2023News

Britain is involved in Israel’s criminal war of destruction

Rishi Sunak’s government has actively supported Israel’s war on Gaza, Declassified UK has revealed, flying over 30 military transport flights to Tel Aviv from Akrotiri, an RAF base on Cyprus.

According to Declassified UK, the government has also allowed Akrotiri to be used for US military flights, many of which have been carrying weapons to Israel. (It is not currently known what the British aircraft were carrying.)

The Israeli air assault and ground invasion…

6 October 2023Blog

Will Sunak's smoking ban help to normalise the idea of carrying a national ID card in the UK?

On 4 October, British prime minister Rishi Sunak made a series of policy announcements at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

One of these was a year-on-year smoking ban. Sunak said: 'I propose that in future we raise the smoking age by one year every year. That means a 14-year-old today will never legally be sold a cigarette and that they and their generation can grow up smoke free.'

Currently, the legal age to buy tobacco or cigarettes is 18, throughout the UK.…

1 October 2023Feature

Ukrainian pacifist Yurii Sheliazhenko on Zelenskyy's 'peace formula'

Yurii Sheliazhenko was interviewed on 10 August about the raid on his home and the charges against him, on Democracy Now!.

During the interview, Yurii said: ‘I was searched, and now I am brought to this repressive system for my alleged justification of Russian aggression, in time when our government organized the summit in Saudi Arabia to promote so-called peace formula of Zelenskyy. [see p3 for more on ‘the Ukrainian Peace Formula’]

‘And this peace formula, in fact,…

1 October 2023News

The ‘Ukrainian peace formula’ is a formula for more war

On 19 September, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced to the UN general assembly in New York: ‘we are preparing a Global Peace Summit’ on the Ukraine War. Zelenskyy added that ‘the Ukrainian Peace Formula’, a 10-point plan which he had presented in full in Indonesia last November, could not only bring about peace in Ukraine, it could now ‘bring back to life the UN Charter’.

The following day, at the UN security council, Zelenskyy explained how this might be done, through…

1 October 2023Comment

Where should PN put its creative energies next year?

Where should PN put its creative energies next year? Are there some ‘experiments with truth’ that you would really like to see us try out, or that you would be willing to be involved in? Are there obvious holes that we should fill in?

Here are some of my thoughts about the year ahead.

There are some things that go without saying. We will continue to argue for radical nonviolence; for a rapid negotiated end to the Ukraine War; for a deeper understanding of British…

1 October 2023Comment

Milan Rai reflects on the recent Active Resistance to the Roots of War (ARROW) reunion

In September, there was a reunion in London of the nonviolent direct action (NVDA) affinity group ARROW, something like 20 years after the group folded. Folk who had not seen each other for decades came together to catch up; it was a wonderful afternoon.

For me, ARROW was where I learned how to work with other people in a non-hierarchical group, or a group that was trying to put equality into practice. ARROW was my peace movement university. We didn’t just do actions, though we did a…