Blog posts

    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.

    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 First World War Armistice pass unmarked. I’m very glad they didn’t, and judging by the packed house, I’m not alone.

    Schwejk (pronounced Sh-wei-ck) is Sands’ own project, shot…

    12 Nov 2018

    Cedric Knight

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

    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 with some of the climate science (less of the general ecology), and also some of the debates in science communication. In brief, we need to reflect the science accurately but also make those…

    08 Nov 2018

    Symon Hill

    Sales of white poppies are higher this year than they've ever been – since the Co-operative Women's Guild created the symbol in 1933 to remember all those killed in war.

    The Peace Pledge Union – the pacifist organisation that supplies and distributes white poppies in Britain – has sold 119,555 white poppies this year, as of the end of Wednesday 7 November.

    The number is bound to rise further in the remaining days until Remembrance Sunday.

    The previous record was 110,000 white poppies in 2015. Until 2014, the record was around 80,000 in 1938. Last year, the figure was 101,000.

    The rise comes despite a…

    08 Nov 2018

    Theo Simon

    Theo Simon responds to Gabriel Carlyle's recent article.

    Gabriel's Peace News piece, “Why I'm sceptical about the Extinction Rebellion initiative (and why I hope I'm wrong)”,  contained some really interesting and valuable insights for structuring political  campaigns, but I think it missed the point entirely about what the Extinction Rebellionrepresents.

    This isn't a…

    02 Nov 2018

    Tim Gee

    If British peacemakers of the early twentieth century had been listened to, we could have avoided the rise of many destructive movements.

    Each year, around Remembrance Day, people all over the UK uphold the memory of those who have died in war. Some people wear red poppies to remember allied soldiers. Others wear white poppies to remember civilians and soldiers killed in war and to express their hope for a culture of peace.

    This year, the St John Ambulance volunteer first aid group announced it would…

    01 Nov 2018

    Gabriel Carlyle

    If Extinction Rebellion plans to gradually build capacity for its big demands by winning smaller-scale victories then why has it launched itself with (apparently) no indication as to what these smaller-scale wins are going to be?

    Lots of people seem to be very excited about Extinction Rebellion (XR)’s ‘declaration of rebellion’ and its plans to ‘bring…

    26 Oct 2018

    Marc Hudson

    An important new book on anti-racism in the age of Trump and Brexit is coming soon.

    A new book, The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence, published by Zed Books is being launched on Saturday 10 November in London. Peace News contributor Marc Hudson conducted an email interview with one of the book's three editors, Remi Joseph-Salisbury, presidential fellow in…

    10 Sep 2018

    Michael Randle

    This is the longer version of an obituary of the prominent US radical pacifist.

    David McReynolds, who died in New York at the age of 88 on 17 August, played a leading role in the US and international peace movement. He was one of the main organisers of the anti-Vietnam war mobilisation in the US, which not only contributed to the ending of that war but had a profound impact on US politics and society. He was also prominent in the anti-nuclear campaign both in the US and internationally, and, though not a gay…

    16 Aug 2018

    Esme Needham

    Esme Needham reviews Tessa Boase's new book Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather

    Tessa Boase
    Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather: Fashion, Fury and Feminism – Women's Fight for Change
    Aurum Press, 2018; 336pp; £20

    If you asked someone who had never read or heard anything about the origins of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) who they thought might have founded it, the chances are they would guess something along the lines of ‘some well-meaning elderly man who was opposed to the shooting of rare birds for sport’, or…

    08 Aug 2018

    Radical Bakers

    A food-centred gathering at Crabapple Community in Shropshire.

    Radical Bakers 2018 wasn’t very radical, unless you count learning how to do things for yourself as radical… There were a range of practical skill based workshops. We had sourdough, baking, brewing, fermenting, infusions, ointments, cold remedies, textiles, woodworking, mushrooms, foraging, a team bake-off and loads more, full programme here.

    The event was well-attended and made a small profit in the first year. The people who…

    20 Jun 2018

    PN staff

    A Trident Ploughshares Press Release

    At 1.30pm on 20 June, while Britain's Westminster parliament was sitting inside, 60 activists from across the UK chained themselves to the railings outside the houses of parliament in central London. They are calling for the UK to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and disarm the Trident nuclear weapon system.

    This action echoes similar actions by women’s suffrage campaigners 100 years ago.

    The activists from the campaign group Trident Ploughshares…

    14 May 2018

    Anna Rääs

    At a London training day, women prepare themselves to lobby for nuclear disarmament.

    'We need to recognise that we can change the debate in this country and this treaty gives us the means to do so' said Rebecca Johnson on 7 April, at a WILPF UK training day on realising the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Dr Johnson is a member of the British branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF UK) and founding…