Welcome to Peace News, the newspaper for the UK grassroots peace and justice movement. We seek to oppose all forms of violence, and to create positive change based on cooperation and responsibility. See more

"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

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The Peace News log

ImageWrite to people imprisoned because of their actions for peace

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters’ International have publicised the names and stories – and prison addresses – of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. This is a chance to write to someone whose freedom has been taken away because of their work for peace. 

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You can be part of the new world of online campaigning even if you don’t have (reliable) broadband or a webcam. 

Organisers, you should be circulating details of how people can phone into your online events (or at least your phone number).

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Ian Sinclair reports on a new feminist-driven initiative

Coined by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985, what has become known as The Bechdel Test – whether a movie includes at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man – is now widely discussed by consumers and creators of popular culture.

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Henri Matisse, CC BY-SA 4.0. via Wikimedia Commons

The politics of sound bites and Twitter  need to be replaced with a refreshed politics of sensibility, argues Robin Holtom

'Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world' - Shelley

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Castle Romeo nuclear test, 27 March 1954. PHOTO:United States Department of Energy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Nuclear weapons states applied enormous pressure to try and stop the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, recalls Janet Fenton.

On 24 October, Honduras ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), becoming the 50th state to signal its binding agreement with the treaty. Passing the 50-ratifications threshold means that the TPNW will now actually ‘enter into force’, 90 days from Honduras’s ratification.

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ImageAndrew Bolton reviews Clare Stober's book about the Bruderhof: 'Another Life is Possible – Insights from 100 years of life together' (Plough Books, 2020; 320pp; £21.50)

There are activists seeking change nonviolently, protesting, getting in the way, being arrested. From Gandhi and Rosa Parks to Extinction Rebellion, we celebrate their courageous contributions. Then there are communal demonstrators, those whose lives together model a better world here and now. Both activists and communal demonstrators are important. This book is about the Bruderhof, a celebration of struggles and endurance over 100 years of a remarkable communal movement. Today there are 23 settlements on four continents totaling about 3,000 members, ranging in size from households in Harlem, New York or Peckham, London to communities around 300 people in size like Darvell in East Sussex, Beach Grove, Kent, or Danthonia, NSW, Australia.

The story begins in Sanherz, Germany in 1920 – Bruderhof means place of brothers in German. In the chaos and suffering of the end of World War I, threatening communist revolutions, and the moral bankruptcy of many Christians over war and capitalism, Eberhard and Emmy Arnold, their children, and a few others began to live together in full Christian community. They took very seriously the Sermon on the Mount and the example of living all things in common in the early Jerusalem (Acts 2 and 4:32-35). They also drew inspiration from the radical Anabaptists – the left wing of the Protestant Reformation, and later the Hutterians, communal Anabaptist descendants, now farming the prairies in Canada and the USA. 

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The Women's March on Washington, 21 January 2017, the day after Donald Trump's inauguration as US president. Photo: Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA (CC BY-SA 2.0).
US president Donald Trump has been threatening for months to hang onto power by illegal means after the 3 November presidential election. Dozens of organisations are preparing to stop him, and to protect the fabric of US democracy.

One week away from election day, thousands of activists across the United States are preparing to prevent any attempt by Donald Trump to hold onto the US presidency by illegal means if it looks like he is losing.

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ImageA review of Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Rivalry that Unravelled the Middle East by Kim Ghattas (Wildfire, 2020; 400pp; £10.99)

I do find it shocking that Kim Ghattas uses the word ‘black’ in such a negative way in the title of her new book about the Middle East.

Ghattas, a former BBC journalist, describes the upsurge of fundamentalism in the region since 1979 as a Black Wave. She takes this phrase from Egyptian film-maker, Youssef Chahine.

For me, the title seems to reinforce the idea of blackness as evil and anti-human – which is how Ghattas, a mainstream Western liberal, sees Islamic fundamentalism.

Ghattas has a chapter on Egypt in the early 1990s which is also called ‘Black Wave’.

In this chapter, Ghattas writes: ‘The most dramatic visual of the black wave crashing over Egypt was the veiling of dozens of its beloved, beautiful actresses, who had delighted generations of Egyptians and Arabs’.

Perhaps Ghattas and Chahine would say that the expression ‘black wave’ refers to this change that they saw in women’s clothing.

However, I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of the hijabs (headscarves) worn by newly-veiled Egyptian actresses were colours other than black. (A minority of actresses taking the veil wore the full-face niqab, which was most likely black.)

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Online and in-person activist events in the UK from 6 August to November 2020

Hiroshima Day 2018 Hastings, EnglandThe current issue of Peace News doesn't have an events page because most events in the time period it covers (10 August to the end of October) are online.

So we've put the events listing online instead. Please do check before attending an in-person event as the changing COVID-19 restrictions mean in-person/face-to-face events change also.

This is a list of the kinds of events below:

1) Hiroshima & Nagasaki events (in-person/face-to-face)

2) Hiroshima & Nagasaki events (online events)

3) Other in-person/face-to-face events

4) Other online events

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Kelvin Mason finds points of agreement with ideological opponents

Citizens of liberal democracies, at least those who at least broadly subscribe to the principles of liberalism and democracy, tend to regard science as an ally in political debate. Climate change deniers, for instance, are regularly denigrated via citing: “97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities” . Armed with such apparently incontestable evidence, “reasonable” people then find it very difficult to make space for scientific scepticism, and this constrains them from entering into debate: Climate change sceptics are accused of politicising the science [1]. Put more starkly, we (yes, I’m one) label our nay-saying adversaries as ‘idiots’ and shut the door to doing politics. Of course, we don’t just do this with respect to the natural sciences. Consider the divisive rancour in the UK around Brexit and how the economic and political absolutes of both sides of that non-debate were most often held to be incontrovertible. Living through the Covid-19 pandemic so far has kindled a new science scepticism in me. It has also led me to consider whether admitting scepticism more generally could help facilitate a regenerative politics, particularly in deeply riven societies such as the UK.

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