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Peace News log archive: October 2017

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

Andrea Needham reports on the recent trial of Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse in Burnley

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Sam and Woody with supporters outside the court

Poor old British Aerospace. Not only were the first group of people to break in to their Warton site in Lancashire to disarm a warplane acquitted, now the second lot have also been found not guilty. It's curious how difficult it appears to be to convict people for acting peacefully to prevent war crimes.

The first such disarmament action took place in January 1996, when a group of women (myself included) broke in and disarmed a Hawk warplane being sold to Indonesia for use in their brutal war on the people of East Timor. Six months later, all of us were acquitted by a jury, having made the defence that we were simply using reasonable force to prevent crime, as allowed in British law.

The serial number on the casing was visible, showing that the bomb was made by Raytheon in Glenrothes, Scotland, after the war against Yemen started.

The second action took place exactly 21 years later (the date was a happy coincidence), when Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse broke in with the intention of disarming Typhoon, Tornado and Hawk warplanes which BAE is selling to Saudi Arabia. As we all know, Saudi Arabia is pursuing a brutal war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of civilian deaths. The almost total destruction of the infrastructure of the country has caused the biggest outbreak of cholera in recorded history, and millions of people are on the verge of starvation. Yet BAE continues to sell warplanes, other British companies sell bombs, and the British government falls over itself to appease the fragile Saudi ego, touchy as the rulers are about accusations of war crimes.

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The full references for the Peace News double-pamphlet 1917: The Nonviolent Russian Revolution / 1917: The Grassroots Working-Class Revolution that Lenin Crushed

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These are the footnotes for the double pamphlet written by PN editor Milan Rai in October 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

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Esme Needham reflects on her experiences at FiLiA 2017

ImageThe conference formerly known as Feminism in London is scheduled to start at nine thirty, and to make sure they get everyone there on time, the organisers have booked Cordelia Fine as their keynote speaker. We are told that she has come all the way from Australia specially to tell us about her new book, Testosterone Rex.

But it's not Feminism in London any more- the world is changing, and the UK's biggest feminism conference now bears the name FiLiA, a word meaning 'sister'. Ticket prices are changing, too, which probably accounts for the four hundred attendees who don't quite fill the thousand-seat auditorium to the brim. Not, however, to cast blame on FiLiA- because apart from anything else, it's amazing to share such a huge space with so many like-minded people. It could be a meeting of stick insect collectors, for all that it matters: it's that feeling of unity.

And yet, it does matter. After all, there are almost four hundred women here, and about twenty men. It's a size disparity that feels almost strange; after all, in many situations, it would be the other way around. What the conference does, among other things, is grant all these women the liberty to look how they want to look and say what they want to say without being judged. That's because there's a simple thing everyone here has in common: we all believe in basic gender equality (or at least, I assume this is the case, because not many people who aren't sure where they stand on a subject are willing to pay fifty pounds to go to a conference about it. Just saying.)

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Ian Sinclair talks to George Lakey, Matt Kennard and Alex Nunns

ImageIan Sinclair writes: My new Peace News article ‘The biggest fight of our lives’ includes comments from George Lakey, Matt Kennard and Alex Nunns. Due to space considerations I could only include a small portion of the commentary each of them sent me in the article itself. Below are their full comments.

Why is Jeremy Corbyn seen as such a threat to the British establishment?

Matt Kennard, author of The Racket: Corbyn is seen as such a threat to the British elite and establishment because he is a major threat to their interests. They are not stupid. They understand when a political figure and movement endangers their ability to retain domination of the economy and political system. Never in the history of Britain has an anti-imperialist socialist ascended to the position of leading any of the major parties. It's huge moment in British history - and arguably world history. If he becomes Prime Minister it will be the first core capital country ruled by an anti-imperialist socialist. They have every right to be fearful. Corbyn is the real deal, he can't be assimilated into the state-capitalist elite's framework on either end of their spectrum. Because of that they have to turn to unconventional warfare, which we've seen over the past two years every day.

The threat Corbyn poses is that he shows that Another World Is Possible. His vision is optimistic about what we can achieve as a species and upends all the useful ideology that has been built up over the neoliberal period that says we have to cut public spending and to eliminate any idea of collectivism. Corbyn has shown that it doesn't have to be like that, and not only that, but these policies are popular amongst the electorate. He has put to bed for generations the idea that left ideas can't win elections, the idea they've been beating us with ever since 1983 and Michael Foot's 'longest suicide note in history'. Now, we find out that actually it was the policies themselves that the Labour right didn't like, not that they won't win elections. The 2017 elections changed everything.

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