Blog posts

    02 Feb 2011

    PN

    Follow-up piece to Virginia’s earlier post

    Christian peace activist Chris Cole was released from HMP Wandsworth this morning after serving 15 days for an act of civil disobedience. Cole was arrested in 2009 for criminal damage in response to a nonviolent direct action at the Defense and Security Equipment International 2009 Arms Fair. He spray painted the entrance to the conference center with ‘Make Peace, not war machines’ and the ground outside with ‘Stop this bloody business’ and ‘Arms trade = death.’ After his arrest, Cole was…

    31 Jan 2011

    Sareena Rai

    Rai Ko Ris, a punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

     

    “WHITE MAN DESTROYS CULTURE” is printed in big letters on a sticker at a venue in West Germany where we played. This phrase became my “theme” as we continued to tour throughout Europe. I realized how just reading about stuff or about people’s lives is simply not enough. There’s nothing more important than meeting people from different worlds. I talked a lot about how white man may have destroyed something in the past, but right now I felt that white people can give something back by…

    31 Jan 2011

    Sareena Rai

    Rai Ko Ris, a punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

    One of the most amazing things that struck me was that 95% of all the shows were organized by people who were just hitting 40 or were beyond it. We were amazed to see such necessary collaboration between ages and sexes. I was sure we were going to be the only oldies (+37) at each show but in fact it is mainly “the oldies” keeping many underground venues and squats going.

    I was totally inspired by that.

    In one city in France I met three women who all played music or sang in at…

    31 Jan 2011

    Sareena Rai

    Rai Ko Ris, A punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

    Much of my time in Europe was spent drinking… drinking tons of their best herbal teas and not-so-good chalky hot water. It was not until I got back to Nepal that I thought, maybe that chalky stuff all boiled up and hot probably didn’t help my voice recover one bit.

    Drinking alcohol is big in Europe, I decided. There is no party without a drink. And there is no gig without drink. There are band names about drink; there are band names named after beer, or drinking, or about being…

    31 Jan 2011

    Jill Gibbon

    Jill Gibbon on the "factory of the future"

     

    As the latest wikileaks show, the royal family is deeply involved in the military-industrial complex. While Prince Andrew acts as a blunderbuss, mouthing patriotism and interfering in anticorruption investigations against BAE Systems, the queen plays a more subtle and perhaps insidious role. On 18th November she ‘launched’ construction work on the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre outside Sheffield. Described as a “factory of the future” it will house…

    31 Jan 2011

    Kelvin Mason

    <p>PN's Wales editor reflects on the UK climate change movement</p>

    Next month the Camp for Climate Action meets to discuss how we organise. Actually, the agenda will be much broader than process. At issue is not just how we do things but what we do. CCA is, of course, not unique in asking this question. Ever since the farce of COP15 in Copenhagen in…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    Zimbardo suggests that just as the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann demonstrated the ‘banality of evil’, so a survey of known good actions demonstrated the ‘banality of heroism’. He suggests that most people seem to be capable of heroism, which includes a willingness to risk social sacrifices (in terms of ridicule or ostracism or harm to one’s career) as well as physical danger, and long-term, enduring, considered action as well as spontaneous responses to unforeseen events.

    What…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    This violation of conscience may occur as much in the pacifist society as in the munitions factory or the research laboratory.

    Having said this, different institutions and different social frameworks make different kinds of behaviour more or less likely. In professor Philip Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment, college students were randomly allocated the roles of guard or prisoner in a mock prison. Zimbardo wrote later: ‘We selected only those judged to be emotionally stable…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    It turns out that it is quite hard to train soldiers to kill.

    Former US army ranger, and later professor of military science at Arkansas State University, lieutenant colonel Dave Grossman has written two books dealing with the psychology of inflicting lethal violence: On Killing – The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (1995); and (with Loren Christensen) On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (2004).

    Grossman…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    The argument of this paper is that for a long time we in the peace movement have been looking in the wrong places when we’ve been looking for the deepest roots of war. This has led to misdirection in creating strategies for abolishing war.

    The common argument against the effort to get rid of war is that violence is innate in human nature, and that therefore there will always be war.

    I would like to suggest that arguing against this position is the wrong move.

    If we as…

    24 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India</p>

    One of the most poignant moments of the conference so far was Samarendra Das’s cry to the audience: “We do not want your research! It is not useful to us. We have simple questions, such as: what should the price of bauxite be?”

    The interesting things here are “useful research” and “we – you”. What is that polarity?

    Before talking about that, I should explain about the pricing question.

    Bauxite is often found on mountain tops; it’s the raw material for aluminium. In India…

    24 Jan 2011

    Virginia Moffatt

    <p>Virginia Moffatt reflects on having a partner imprisoned</p>

    To all intents and purposes, last Wednesday was a normal day. I dropped my husband, Chris Cole, in Headington and watched him walk away in the darkness to the London bus, as I often do. Then I  headed back home for the usual morning routine of breakfast, sandwich making, and the school run.

    But last Wednesday was different in one respect. For the second time in four years, Chris was returning to Westminster Magistrates to “wilfully refuse” to pay a fine he’d incurred during  an …

    23 Jan 2011

    Sareena Rai

    <p>Rai Ko Ris, A punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman <strong>Sareena Rai</strong> describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.</p>

    “To exist as a band without the corporate music industry is in itself a political feat” – sticker stuck on a wall at a venue in North Germany

    Sitting in a village on the edge of Kathmandu happily listening to the Subhumans, I had this yearning to go to Europe.

    A good friend of ours from Holland calls the West “the fortress”; he said the people, the culture, and the way the whole place works is like a fortress, sealed and intimidating. I agreed with him and so…

    22 Jan 2011

    Jill Gibbon

    Jill Gibbon draws spooks and arms dealers in B'ham

    This month’s drawings come from a graduate recruitment fair, held at the NEC, Birmingham at the end of October. The impact of the recession was clear – the show barely filled one of the twenty exhibition halls, and it was dominated by defence. Exhibitors included BAE Systems, EADs, Rolls Royce, Selex, the army, air force, GCHQ and M15. In spite of this, defence was curiously absent from the list of careers in the show guide.

    BAE Systems appeared, instead, under almost every other…

    25 Oct 2010

    Sam McCann, Cornerstone Cath

    <p>Climate change and capitalism: Six points of view</p>

    PN: How do you see the relationship between capitalism and climate change?

    CC: I think they’re inherently linked because capitalism can only exist with continual growth based on turning natural resources, i.e. bits of planet, into money. And the way it does that is by chopping it up, excavating it, turning it into product, burning it, disposing of it. Basically whatever it takes, we’ll degrade, and that leads to climate change.

    PN: Can…