Blog posts

    08 Nov 2020

    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.

    The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, WILPF, as its known to its friends, has a unique perspective on the TPNW that has been a significant driver in bringing it to this wonderful moment of entry into force.

    With the 50th ratification, the treaty is irreversible…

    28 Oct 2020

    Andrew Bolton

    Andrew 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…

    27 Oct 2020

    Milan Rai

    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.

    Their efforts are in line with an elite investigation into a possible election crisis, which concluded that massive street action would be vital in defending a contested election result.

    The Transition Integrity Project (more on this below) also warned that a commitment to nonviolence by anti-Trump protesters would…

    19 Oct 2020

    Milan Rai

    A 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…

    05 Aug 2020

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

    The 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…

    01 Aug 2020

    Kelvin Mason

    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…

    02 Apr 2020

    Irfran Chowdhury

    On 23 January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock from two minutes to midnight to 100 seconds to midnight, which is the closest that it has been to midnight since the Clock was created in 1947 (midnight means the end of organised human life). The Bulletin consists of the world’s top physicists and its work is supported by experts on international peace and security such as former UN high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson and former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon.

    A statement …

    01 Dec 2019

    Esme Needham

    Esme Needham reviews the National Portrait Gallery's exhibition about the women who helped to create the Pre-Raphaelite style

    There were seven of them, to begin with. Seven expensively-educated young men from wealthy families, whose decision to pioneer a new art style sparked an artistic craze which continued for decades. Whatever you know of Pre-Raphaelite art, the chances are that you have images you associate with it: Dante Gabriel Rossetti's baleful “Proserpine”, perhaps, or John Everett Millais's “Ophelia”, covered in flowers and staring helplessly at the sky. Images of women were always at the heart of the Pre-Raphaelite style, yet many of the real women who helped to create it have been almost entirely…

    11 Jun 2019

    Tatiana Garavito

    'Positive social change results mostly from connecting more deeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action.' – Rebecca Solnit

    In times of crisis, people often react by coming up with quick fixes, quick strategies and quick actions to address the challenges we face. Although quick responses are sometimes necessary, we need to be careful in how we articulate our demands and how we organise. Climate breakdown, white supremacy and so many other ‘crises’ in the news right now are not actually new. For many communities around the world including here in Britain, crisis is very familiar. You can see this in the profit-driven…

    09 May 2019

    Sam Walton

    Extinction Rebellion (XR) deserves praise for the impact it is having in streets, in the media and in public discourse. The XR leadership should also be questioned for its approach to diversity and privilege, to climate justice, and to strategy. (This is part of a series of articles discussing XR.)

    Extinction Rebellion (XR) has sprung upon us and is mobilising thousands of people to take direct action demanding radical action on climate change. They’ve filled the streets. Thousands of new people are taking action. Despite this most established environmental activists have reacted with criticism, much of which is justified.

    Leaders

    To understand XR, it is important to note that it has a defined leadership. Roger…

    13 Mar 2019

    Gabriel Carlyle

    Many schools and sixth-form colleges across the UK are unwittingly helping to fund climate change through their contributions to Local Government Pension Schemes. These Pension Schemes have £16 billion pounds of people’s pension monies invested in giant oil, coal and gas companies like Exxon and BP. By taking action in their schools, students, parents, teachers and staff can help to break the hold these companies currently have on economies and governments around the world, and make way for a just transition to renewable energy.…

    06 Mar 2019

    Benjamin

    Benjamin reports on Global Justice Now's recent one-day conference

    On Saturday 23 February about 200 activists met in South London to discuss 'Growth, Degrowth and Climate justice'. The one day conference, organised by Global Justice Now (formerly World Development Movement) proved hugely popular with tickets selling out. A larger venue was found and filled, proving that a subject which has been the preserve of university economists can now draw a non-specialist audience.

    If the financial crisis of ten years ago has taught us anything it is that we cannot leave economics solely to economists.…

    11 Dec 2018

    Marc Hudson

    Speakers at a London book launch describe some of the many challenges we face around race and racism and connections with other oppressions.

    Over 50 people gathered in London on Saturday 10 November to celebrate the launch of a new book, The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence.  The event was a welcome mix of hearing from different authors (people of colour and also white) about the work they had contributed, followed by a thoughtful Q and A and discussion, refreshments and more incisive observations by the rapper Lowkey and professor Akwugo Emejulu

    One of the book’s editors, Azeezat Johnson, who is a researcher at…

    28 Nov 2018

    Rebecca Elson-Watkins

    In some ways it is hard to believe it has now been over a century since the guns of the First World War fell silent. The 'war to end all wars' is so deeply engraved on our national consciousness that even now, when there is no living memory of the conflict, people gather to speak, remember and reflect on that awful, bloody war.

    I observed the two minute silence at 11am in front of my television at home, unable to face…

    28 Nov 2018

    Rebecca Elson-Watkins

    Obituary of a great voice.

    There are a lot of things I could say about Harry Leslie Smith. He was a husband, a father, and the son of a coal miner. He was a writer, activist, and defender of the working classes. He was a vocal campaigner for the rights of refugees. He was a survivor of poverty, of the Great Depression and of the Second World War. He was a link to our history; a voice from…