Blog posts

    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…

    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…

    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…

    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…

    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

    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…

    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…

    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…

    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.

    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…

    20 Nov 2018

    Rebecca Elson-Watkins

    The case of Henry Rivett Albrow, a conscientious objector.

    It is the case of Henry Rivett Albrow that forms much of the plot of Devils on Horseback. When he is called before the tribunal he is erudite and eloquent in his impassioned defence of his conscience, calling himself a ‘dissident Christian’ – mainly because he cannot reconcile ‘love thy neighbour’ and ‘thou shalt not kill’ with the church’s acceptance of warfare. He is berated mercilessly by the members of the tribunal, with the usual nonsensical questions that are asked of…

    19 Nov 2018

    Rebecca Elson-Watkins

    The Inaugural Alternative Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture 2018

    In a tucked away corner of Rotherhithe, down a little cobbled street oozing with history, stands Sands Film Studios. Well-known amongst lefties and radicals, this unique corner of London was the perfect place to hear from a unique, leftie and often radical character, Kerry-Anne Mendoza.

    Mendoza began by talking about the namesake of the lecture,…

    19 Nov 2018

    Rebecca Elson-Watkins

    31 October – 24 November, Jermyn Street Theatre

    Based on the memoirs of a real-life Canadian flying ace, this play charts the rise of the eponymous Billy from under-achiever, to airman, to international celebrity. The latter for the astonishingly high number of air-to-air combat “victories” that he achieved  during the First World War. With a cast of only two, Charles Aitken playing the young Billy, and Oliver Beamish the elder, the play is a simple, but…

    16 Nov 2018

    Rebecca Elson-Watkins

    A film that uses humour to convey the absurdity of armed conflict.

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    Sands Films is a unique gem; snuggled up against the south bank of the Thames, it is one of those little secrets that Londoners cherish. Not usually known for their events – it’s normally a fully functional film studio – they felt they couldn’t let the centenary of the…

    12 Nov 2018

    Cedric Knight

    Cedric Knight comments on Theo Simon's recent piece on Extinction Rebellion.

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    I hope to join at least some Extinction Rebellion events. I'd like to add further cautions, though, that aren't in any way meant to reduce enthusiasm but might affect tactics as regards communication, prompted partly by the talk by Dr Gail Bradbrook on the XR website. I'm a layperson but familiar…